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Dec 28 2011

No power in the ‘verse can stop us

I titled my critique of Massimo Pigliucci’s complaint about the New Atheists with a Firefly quote — “We’re meddlesome” — so I might as well keep it up. There’s much in that series to illuminate my personal view of atheism, specifically, the elements that seem to antagonize people like Pigliucci and Stedman and Mooney and great swarms of other more accommodating people. First, I ought to point out the obvious: contrary to the defenders of tone, I don’t mind pissing people off.

Mal: Gotta say, Doctor, your talent for alienatin’ folks is near miraculous.
Simon: Yes, I’m very proud.

We often get this insistence from the accommodationists that the only way to win people over is to be nice to them — atheists should try to be good citizens who get along with everyone. A related point they will make is that atheists don’t have a real problem with discrimination, because they look just like everyone else and can blend in, and if we aren’t rocking the boat no one will have any grounds to oppose us.

I really, really despise that argument. I don’t want my community to accept my presence because they have me confused with an Episcopalian, or because I’m one of those good atheists who don’t raise no ruckus, no sir, and so they can tolerate me because I’m invisible. I intend to be loud; I will leave no doubt that I disbelieve and am disagreeable about it. I am not the one who needs to learn a lesson in tolerance, the smug, oblivious Christians are, and the only way I can give it is if I’m standing up and challenging them.

So when people, atheists and theists alike, complain that I’m obnoxious, I feel good about it. There’s the fact that most of the people doing the complaining are not the sort I have much respect for, so I take pleasure in pissing them off, but also that I’m fulfilling my responsibilities. I make people aware that where I stand, there stands an atheist, and not some simpering milquetoast making apologies for his temerity in disrespecting religion, but someone who is proud of his beliefs.

Badger: You think you’re better than other people!
Mal: Just the ones I’m better than.

Pigliucci complained about the arrogance of some atheists who think all believers are dumb, which is a common complaint, and one you hear from believers as well. But they’re wrong: I don’t think I’m smarter than everyone else.

I just think I’m right.

That’s important. Atheists should have a feeling of unrepentant confidence — we are on the right side of reason, the right side of history, and the right side of the evidence. It’s not because I think I have some intrinsically greater worth than others at all, but I have shed some delusions and freed myself of traditional dogma, and have also worked most of my life to alleviate my ignorance. Other people could benefit from similar enlightenment.

And anyone who’s bothered by my cockiness should have a little more self-awareness: we all think we’re right, or we wouldn’t be doing what we do.

Jayne: Shiny. Let’s be bad guys.

Yeah, the faitheists and believers think I’m a bad guy, for the reasons above (and I’m OK with that). My other sin, though, is that I encourage other atheists to join me, I reinforce my kind of rudeness in a large group of people, and I do that community building stuff. I foster my tribe. We grow stronger and louder and bolder, we are all bad guys together.

Of course, the kind of bad guys we are are the ones encouraged by Carl Sagan: the critics of mysticism and foolishness who do not sit silent when a god-botherer says something stupid. We misbehave because it’s about damn time someone did.

“…if we offer too much silent assent about mysticism and superstition ‐ even when it seems to be doing a little good ‐ we abet a general climate in which skepticism is considered impolite, science tiresome, and rigorous thinking somehow stuffy and inappropriate. Figuring out a prudent balance takes wisdom.”

Carl Sagan

That’s us. No silence. We fight the idea that skepticism might be impolite by being impolite all the time, making the questioning of dogma commonplace and frequent. After all, why should it be considered so awful for a horde of atheists to point out that Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Hinduism are ridiculous? The are ridiculous and are going to get ridiculed.

Here’s something else I think atheists should be:

The Operative: Do you know what your sin is, Mal?
Mal: Aw, hell, I’m a fan of all seven. But right now, I’m gonna have to go with wrath.

I see priests raping children. I see a publicity-seeking nun praising pain and suffering, poverty and sickness. I see politicians pandering for votes by demanding the persecution of gays in the name of Jesus. I see godly men declaring that the role of women is to be silent and subservient…and brood a quiverful of children. I see fanatics strapping explosives to their bodies and killing randomly in the name of their god. I see lobbyists hard at work, trying to dilute science education, and suggesting that we teach the Flintstones as fact in our biology classes. I see a pope in fancy silks and gold-bedecked palace urging people to shun materialism and savor the simple life. I see deluded people opposing work to alleviate climate change because they’re sure God wouldn’t let it happen. I see ordinary people certain that these are the End Times, rejoicing in our imagined imminent apocalypse, and actively working to bring it about.

If you aren’t angry, there’s something wrong with you.

Religion is not some mild happy recreational activity; it is a poison of the brain that taints the vast majority of humanity. It is bad shit. I will not support it in any way, and I resent the complacent schmoes who urge us to close our eyes to it. One the one hand, we’ve got the moderate academic types who like to tell us it’s mostly harmless and we’ll never be able to get rid of it, anyway; to them I’d say that, as people who are supposedly dedicated to learning the truth, you ought to be the first to deny religion because a) it’s wrong, and b) it’s a fallacious way of learning about the world. On the other hand, we’ve got the happy progressives who want us all to do interfaith work, and tell us that the fundies might be bad, but we share common cause with liberal Christians; to them I say that a mind addled by liberal opium is just as faulty as one fired up on conservative crack.

I know that we can never get rid of religion, because there will always be people willing to lie for gain, and there will always be gullible people willing to believe them. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t hate the lie of faith consistently and without apology. There are principles an atheist should stand for, and one should be that god-belief is bullshit.

No compromises on that. Wrath will be my response to those suggesting otherwise.

Zoe: Where are we going, sir?
Mal: The same as always. Forward.

No sitting still. Keep going, keep pushing, keep agitating. We may have to change course now and then, but the engines should always be running, we should always be plowing on ahead.

198 comments

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  1. 1
    Glen Davidson

    Yeah, we’re badasses.

    Well, obviously that’s not very serious. But if we can annoy Massimo, why not? Apparently to him we’re badasses, or not so good asses, or what the hell was he saying?

    Oh right, that he’s the wonderful type of atheist. Gotcha, Pigliucci.

    Glen Davidson

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    I can’t feel too badass right now. A serious bout of insomnia last night left me spending the whole day in a headachey, fatigued funk.

    The best I can do right now is cranky.

  3. 3
    davidct

    The polite atheists can go on sitting in quietly in the minority area in the back of the bus. Those of us who demand fair treatment will insist on the front of the bus and also demand the right to drive from time to time. To be considered second class citizens by superstitious fools is not to be tolerated.

  4. 4
    jjgdenisrobert

    I hate the word, but in this case, it fits: ditto.

  5. 5
    SallyStrange

    Wow. So glad I’m not the only one.

  6. 6
    wilsim

    I enjoy the cranky PZ just as much as the others. Keep it sharp.

  7. 7
    chigau (違う)

    My days of not taking Massimo Pigliucci seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

  8. 8
    davidct

    Sorry you are not feeling well. I loved the Firefly quotes.

  9. 9
    vimes67

    “If you aren’t angry, there’s something wrong with you.

    Cheers to that.

  10. 10
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    No atheist, new or ancient, could be as devastating in ridiculing religion as the religious people themselves when their inner editor has taken the day off. Case in point, the Bible, 1 Samuel 18:27:

    “David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.”

    Hat tip: Boing Boing.

    http://boingboing.net/2011/12/28/wednesday-weird-bible-verse-1.html

  11. 11
    otrame

    I think the various accommodationists have been listening to the theists too much. We are not “in their faces”, –well, most of us aren’t. All we do is say, in the face of fairy-tale blathering, “I think you are wrong and here is why”.

    That’s all. Oh, sure, sometimes we say in a a rather rude way. But then, I consider telling someone they are going to burn in hell to be rather rude. Simply stating “I am an atheist and I am here” is not being mean to Christians. Saying “”I think you are wrong and here is why” is not especially aggressive and if you think it is, you are listening to the majority being oppressed while insisting that the majority rules while complaining about immoral atheists while stealing money from poor people and raping kids. And you are believing them. Which is kinda pathetic.

  12. 12
    Kel

    I don’t think I’m smarter than everyone else.

    I just think I’m right.

    Well said!

    It does seem a shame that there’s a tendency to see this kind of statement as an expression of intellectual arrogance; with the expectation that either we should bow down to our intellectual betters or be filled with enough doubt as to not express such a view. Nor does it make one close-minded or fundamentalist to think that they are right, the real challenge is if one would be willing to change their mind if the arguments and evidence in favour of a position were found wanting. Unfortunately, it seems that the lust for open-mindedness and tolerance has tabooed the expression of certainty rather than the allowance for a reasonable elucidation of beliefs and following arguments/evidence to a conclusion.

    It’s like people have the right idea but the wrong implementation of liberal enlightenment values.

  13. 13
    sawells

    Have any of you guys been following Camels with Hammers? For some reason Eric Steinhart is posting a lengthy series of screeds based on constructing an atheist form of Wicca in which we think that the Immanent Power of Being-Itself is sacred, holy and divine. Apparently our brains are hardwired for religion.

    Yup.

    I’ve been … somewhat critical… there but apparently asking for evidence that there is any such thing as “the immanent creative power of being” is too philosophically naive. It might be interesting if some of the Horde were to read the backstory and give Eric some responses if you feel so inclined.

    I was at one point accused of involvement in “New Atheist’s scientistic postivistic orthodoxy”, which I kind of want to get printed on a business card.

  14. 14
    screechymonkey

    otrame@11:

    We are not “in their faces”, –well, most of us aren’t. All we do is say, in the face of fairy-tale blathering, “I think you are wrong and here is why”.

    It never ceases to amuse me how little it takes to be branded “in your face,” “militant,” “hostile,” etc.

  15. 15
    carlie

    That’s the best goddamned cranky I’ve ever read.

    Hear, hear.

  16. 16
    bartmitchell

    I miss being called a ‘Gnu’ atheist. That was so much more fun. Always made me think of Gary Gnu from Fraggle Rock.

  17. 17
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    @ screechymonkey: On this topic, have you seen the last Jesus and Mo? Perfect illustration.

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2011/12/28/lack2/

  18. 18
    John Morales

    Shepherd Book: I don’t care what you believe in, just believe in it.

  19. 19
    Matthew Prorok

    For “cranky”, you’ve managed to put a whole lot of awesome into words. This one is going in my bookmarks for frequently-referenced blog posts. You hit this out of the park.

  20. 20
    anchor

    Bravo.

  21. 21
    sqlrob

    We often get this insistence from the accommodationists that the only way to win people over is to be nice to them

    Yeah, because it’s worked so *(#&$(* well the last couple of millenia.

    Bite me accommodationists.

  22. 22
    zacharyhill

    I love you PZ… I really don’t have anything else to say, except, “Give’m Hell!” Metaphorically of course.

  23. 23
    Gregory Greenwood

    Ah, Firefly. One of the many, many reasons I hate Fox is because they cancelled this show.

    I don’t think I’m smarter than everyone else.

    I just think I’m right.

    That’s important. Atheists should have a feeling of unrepentant confidence — we are on the right side of reason, the right side of history, and the right side of the evidence.

    That is the crux of the matter – it is not arrogant, an expression of a belief in our own supposed inherent superiority, or unreasonable to point out that we are the ones who actually have evidence and reason backing up our positions. The problem is that many theists realise that in a fair contest their delusions just wont stand up to any serious scrutiny at all, and so they try to rig the game in order to protect a belief system that they find comforting and that forms part of their sense of self from any form of critique.

    This is bad enough, but what really grinds my gears is the accommodationists who feel that we should be apologetic for the fact that we are the only ones who bother with evidence, and so are the only ones who have anything approaching a cogent argument to present. The kind of people who seem to think that sitting in a corner and being nice and quiet and pretending we don’t exist will somehow produce better results than arguing our case. The kind of people who privilege being nice and not rocking the boat over actually standing up for the truth.

    In many ways, these accommodationists are as much a problem as the theists who think that we are all baby-eating monsters, because they maintain the myth that the proper way to be an atheist is the ‘nice’ way, and that what we are doing is simply being obnoxious as a function of egomania. When the theists can point to ‘nice guy’ atheists as the acceptable face of godlessness – as the low-fat, palatable alternative to those awful, shrill gnus – then it makes it that much easier to marginalise and dismiss us, and thereby to maintain the status quo of unearned and unchallenged religious privilege.

    The accommodationists say we are ‘hurting the cause’ – I say they are trying to throw us under the bus for no better reason than that it props up their own sense of smug superiority.

  24. 24
    JT Eberhard

    Fuck. Yes.

    “I’ve always had the impression that real militants are like cleaning women, doing a thankless, daily but necessary job.” ~ Francois Truffaut

  25. 25
    consciousness razor

    I’ve been … somewhat critical… there but apparently asking for evidence that there is any such thing as “the immanent creative power of being” is too philosophically naive. It might be interesting if some of the Horde were to read the backstory and give Eric some responses if you feel so inclined.

    I wanted to try to respond at one point, but most of it was too stupid for words. Now he’s been going on about Wicca for almost a month, and it’s still non-stop nonsense. I don’t know why Fincke gives him a platform.

  26. 26
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    PZ, brevity is oft the soul of wit. This 1200-word cranky missive is worth the whole of “The God Delusion” and “God is not Great”.

    We’re not better; we’re RIGHT!

  27. 27
    'Tis Himself

    I’m trying to think of how to get my favorite Firefly (actually Serenity) quote to fit the topic:

    “Start with the part where Jayne gets knocked out by a ninety-pound girl, ’cause I don’t think that’s ever gettin’ old.”

    but I can’t. So here’s the Fruity-Oaty Bar commercial.

  28. 28
    sawells

    @25: it was actually Fincke, not Eric, who said that by asking for evidence of things I was trying to silence voices that weren’t part of the New Atheist scientistic positivistic orthodoxy. Apparently free thought doesn’t extend to considering the possibility that some philosophical ideas may be traditional, well-respected, deeply embedded in the literature of an entire academic discipline, and still be utter tosh. Ah well.

  29. 29
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    I don’t know why the faitheists/accomodationsts don’t seem to notice that all atheists need do to be referred to as ‘militant’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘evangelical’ and told to ‘stop forcing your opinions down people’s throats’ is nothing more than talk openly about being an atheist.

    Twitter is a good means to observe what people think about atheism. The other day I noticed some guy on Twitter abusing another for preaching – how? By having ‘atheist’ as part of his nym.

    And when I expressed annoyance at this he admitted he, too, was an atheist. The unspoken rule against atheists being open about their lack of belief is that pervasive.

    Atheists who comment about atheism, even if it’s nothing more severe than poking fun at overt religious behaviour, are being likened to the worst kind of gay-hating, rapture-invoking, fire-and-brimstone tv preachers. Bill Maher got compared to Pat Robertson for his joke about Tim Tebow, and Ricky Gervais is getting huge amounts of negative from all sides for his comments about religion.

    Christmas, of course, prompted a lot of negative comments towards atheists – we shouldn’t be allowed to celebrate (at) Christmas, receive gifts or have time off work; if we do, we’re hypocrites or (secretly) believers.

    Really, the fact that we exist is enough to offend a significant proportion of believers; it is therefore nonsensical to try and devise a means to continue advocating atheism in such a way that isn’t going to offend believers – because it’s simply not possible.

  30. 30
    robro

    Here, here.

  31. 31
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I don’t know why the faitheists/accomodationsts don’t seem to notice that all atheists need do to be referred to as ‘militant’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘evangelical’ and told to ‘stop forcing your opinions down people’s throats’ is nothing more than talk openly about being an atheist.

    A thousand times this.

    It’s just precisely the same as homophobes claiming that gay people holding hands in public is a debauched and obscene display of sexuality. What they can do without comment provokes riot and calamity when The Bad Other People do it.

    And Pigliucci thinks it’s absurd to draw parallels. Jesus Christ.

  32. 32
    Andy Groves

    I don’t want my community to accept my presence because they have me confused with an Episcopalian, or because I’m one of those good atheists who don’t raise no ruckus, no sir, and so they can tolerate me because I’m invisible. I intend to be loud; I will leave no doubt that I disbelieve and am disagreeable about it. I am not the one who needs to learn a lesson in tolerance, the smug, oblivious Christians are, and the only way I can give it is if I’m standing up and challenging them.

    How does that play out in Morris? Not the university, but in the town. Morris is a small town, and I wonder whether you are vocal about your atheism in person as well as online. If so, have you ever had any problems in the community?

  33. 33
    LykeX

    I see priests raping children. I see a publicity-seeking nun praising pain and suffering, poverty and sickness. I see politicians pandering for votes by demanding the persecution of gays in the name of Jesus. I see godly men declaring that the role of women is to be silent and subservient…and brood a quiverful of children. I see fanatics strapping explosives to their bodies and killing randomly in the name of their god. I see lobbyists hard at work, trying to dilute science education, and suggesting that we teach the Flintstones as fact in our biology classes. I see a pope in fancy silks and gold-bedecked palace urging people to shun materialism and savor the simple life. I see deluded people opposing work to alleviate climate change because they’re sure God wouldn’t let it happen. I see ordinary people certain that these are the End Times, rejoicing in our imagined imminent apocalypse, and actively working to bring it about.

    I’ll add in, I see the supposedly reasonable believers not doing a goddamn thing to oppose these fanatics, other than shaking their head and keeping their mouths shut.

    Where are the Christians Against Fred Phelps? Oh wait, they’re here, and they haven’t had a post in over six months. We’re the only ones speaking out, so don’t fucking dare tell us to shut up.

  34. 34
    razzlefrog

    I must be the devil’s advocate.

    I am not the one who needs to learn a lesson in tolerance, the smug, oblivious Christians are, and the only way I can give it is if I’m standing up and challenging them.

    I know you’re a bit riled up. I understand. I get it. Religion’s a shitstorm of shitty shit shittin’ all over you every day, and I imagine you’re not giddy about it. I empathize. But you must remember: alienation is as much a burden to convincing someone as indoctrination. When someone feels a debate to be competitive instead of an open arena of discourse – when they feel that conceding they were wrong hurts their dignity – they’re much less likely to be swayed.

    Now, I get that you get people like Falwell and Ham and Burzynski and Chopra and other public charlatans. They deserve thundering criticism. Grenade them with your fury – they’d better get the message – you’re not tolerating they’re goddamn shit. Steamroll them. Pummel them. No mercy. The disapproval need resonate. But in the greater population, note that this method often doesn’t work. It’s not a bad one, it’s not something I say we need abandon, but I do believe wisdom in tactic choice need be exercised more carefully. Time, place, audience demographic, circumstances. It’s annoying, but you have to factor in human nature. We’re not collectively as good at that as we think. Look anywhere around the internet, many atheists (especially younger ones) aren’t doing us any favors. I believe in us, but we need to streamline our method.

    That’s not a challenge; it’s an observation. I don’t say anyone is stupid; I want your discourse. I’m not feeling confrontational; I just want us to improve.

    But…I still get a sinking feeling someone may see this as a full frontal assault. Which boggles me. I don’t want that.

  35. 35
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    But…I still get a sinking feeling someone may see this as a full frontal assault. Which boggles me. I don’t want that.

    Why? I get a ‘full frontal assault’ of god shit every fucking day. And I work in a service industry in the rusty, tarnished buckle of the bible belt and I have to just take it or I go out of business.

    What, exactly, is wrong with a full, frontal assault of words? It’s been demonstrated, time and again, that some people respond to confrontation and some people respond to reasoned discourse and some people respond to being just plain embarrassed by having to openly admit that they believe absurdities. We clearly need all of these things to achieve our goals. Why must your type constantly complain about this?

  36. 36
    falstaff

    Yeah, great TV show. But would you actually fight? If the ones who would really like to have a repressive, theocratic nation managed to start a civil war, would you fight?

    What if they managed a kind of bloodless takeover and suddenly anyone who wasn’t their kind of Christian was at best a second class citizen? Would you try to leave the country? Acquiesce? Start some kind of underground movement and fight?

    Most likely won’t happen, but what if it did?

  37. 37
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    I’m not one to give a simple, “Hells yeah!” but I gotta say:

    Hells yeah.

    The essay itself was outstanding. The Firefly just made it fucking outstanding. I gotta say, PZ, I’m a little bit in love with you now.

  38. 38
    cicely

    *clenched tentacle salute*
    -

  39. 39
    bcskeptic

    The pen is indeed mightier than the sword, and PZ, you have the biggest goddamn pen out there! Well done, well said!

    In the future when people can’t understand why I’m vocal about being atheist, I can simply send them a link to this blog post and say, “that’s how and why I feel the way I do”.

    Thanks for that.

  40. 40
    John Morales

    [meta]

    razzlefrog:

    When someone feels a debate to be competitive instead of an open arena of discourse [blah]

    You see no difference between debate and discourse?

  41. 41
    Ing

    Yeah, great TV show. But would you actually fight? If the ones who would really like to have a repressive, theocratic nation managed to start a civil war, would you fight?

    What if they managed a kind of bloodless takeover and suddenly anyone who wasn’t their kind of Christian was at best a second class citizen? Would you try to leave the country? Acquiesce? Start some kind of underground movement and fight?

    Most likely won’t happen, but what if it did?

    Work to escape to another country where I can raise funds and funnel them to any counter revolutionary forces or remaining opposition parties and build political capita with the rest of the world against the homeland. Of vital importance because a) They’d have nukes and b) such a government would be starting with a running clock, it’s unsustainable.

  42. 42
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    falstaff:

    But would you actually fight?

    Just out of the US Army, I walked along the Alaska coast one time, looking at some land I had put in to win (Alaska homestead raffle, don’t’cha know). I had my wife beside me, my daughter on my back papoosac-style, and my brother beside me. We walked along the shore.

    We came around a sharp bend into an inlet. We heard the sharp *pop*s of idiots discharging firearms. We saw the idiots. We saw what they were shooting at: an otter on our side of an inlet caught sight of us, and dived off into the water. It was obviously the cause of the shooting.

    We thought nothing of it. Stupid people shoot at otters all the time. Their hides, at the time, brought a C-note or so. Didn’t matter to us.

    We continued along the beach. Honey badger don’t give a shit, then or now.

    The fools with the firearms were across the inlet from us, about a hundred yards. We could see them clearly. We just chose to ignore them.

    Until they started shooting at us.

    I don’t think they were shooting at us, exactly. They just shot at the otter, out between us. The bullets bounced off the water and hit the devil’s club behind us.

    I turned to place myself between the fucking assholes and my daughter, all papoosac on my back. I reached down to draw my sidearm, with full intent to shoot them, to fucking kill them. I had, fortunately, left my .357 in the truck. My brother, also fortunately, had brought his 9mm, which he drew and fired into the air.

    The assholes stopped shooting.

    I realized at that time I was willing to kill. This is a strange realization for a pacifist.

    I can fight. I can kill. It takes a lot; it takes a direct threat to the lives of those I love. But I can do it.

    I don’t expect this fight to be violent, but I think, knowing my limits, I can do what’s needed to succeed.

    I think many here are also willing to do what’s necessary, to varying degrees.

  43. 43
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    @ Andy Groves: Interesting question, but PZ is on record here and in various interviews for not hiding his thoughts IRL either. I recall one instance in which he said that he was something like “the atheist neighborhood rabbi” of his town. Sadly, I can’t find the reference right now, but a few moments with the keyword “Morris” in Pharyngula’s searchbox, here or at Science Blogs, yields links to posts about the Morris Freethinkers meetings, Drinking Liberally in Morris, a Café Scientifique, or visits of other science bloggers and atheists, a local debate against a creationist… and more recently, support for #OccupyMorris.

  44. 44
    'Tis Himself

    razzlefrog,

    Your concern is noted.

  45. 45
    Johnny Vector

    bcskeptic @ 39: I think what you mean is:

    PZ’s pen is mightier.

  46. 46
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Look anywhere around the internet, many atheists (especially younger ones) aren’t doing us any favors.

    Yet, oddly, it is only in the past 30 years or so, since the young, annoying, aggressive, savvy and willing-to-call-bullshit-for-what-it-is atheists (like PZ, like Dawkins) have come to the fore, that atheism has gone from the fringe of society to be a developing force. I wonder why? Could it be that the full-frontal assault on ignorance, hatred and bullshit is actually working?

    .

  47. 47
    'Tis Himself

    I don’t expect this fight to be violent, but I think, knowing my limits, I can do what’s needed to succeed.

    I think many here are also willing to do what’s necessary, to varying degrees.

    Mal: And what does that make us?
    Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
    Mal: Ain’t we just.

  48. 48
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    ‘Tis Himself, OM:

    Mal: Ain’t we just.

    Zoe: First rule of battle, little one: Don’t ever let them know where you are.
    Mal with guns blazing: I’m right here! I’m right here! You wanna come in? Yeah you do! C’mon! C’mon!
    Zoe: Course there’s other schools of thought.
    Mal: That was bracing! They don’t like it when you shoot at ‘em. I worked that out myself.

  49. 49
    PZ Myers

    I’m the village atheist — everyone knows it. But everyone else is Minnesota nice and polite about it. There are some people who have complimented me on my views, but would rather I not let anyone else know they’re on Team Atheist. There are others who give me sour looks, but that’s about the worst of it, so far.

    The weirdest feeling was this time I walked into one of the local churches where they had a creationist speaker (I catch these horrors fairly regularly when they swing through town). I felt like Gary Cooper walking into a saloon — the conversation stopped, everyone turned and looked at me for a moment, and then they turned away to whispered conversations. It was kind of strange. (Also, at the end of these events, I’ll often get someone coming up to me afterwards with a kind of sigh of relief to thank me for being so well-behaved…I win because I didn’t kill any one!)

  50. 50
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Looking forward to reading both post and comments. Before Christmas I watched Firefly & Serenity for the first time in kind of a marathon* & liked it muchly.

    *only kind of because I didn’t sit down and watch them all back to back in one day, but a couple of episodes a day until I finished.

  51. 51
    jjgdenisrobert

    Just one little comment about the statement some commenter made that we are “wired for religion”. There is no evidence whatsoever that we’re “wired for religion”. To determine whether we are would require that we first agree on a definition for “religion”, which would be quite a feat, notwithstanding the protean efforts of a whole class of philosopher… But more importantly, if we’re wired for anything, it’s pattern-detection and agency-detection, not “religion”. That’s testable. Religion, since it’s such a complex and ill-defined concept, is not.

  52. 52
    truthspeaker

    I don’t think I’m smarter than everyone else.

    I just think I’m right.

    Ditto.

    Hell, I know I’m not smarter than everyone else, and I could submit my college GPA as evidence. Very smart people can believe very stupid things, which is why it’s always important to examine and evaluate what we believe.

  53. 53
    Gonzo

    I was kinda feeling the winter blues and this has rattled my neurotranshiters to wind-up level.

    Just what the doctor ordered.

  54. 54
    eric1rom

    There are other atheists, just as right, who manage to be right without seeming like raving douchebags.

  55. 55
    nmcc

    What a stupendously stupid rant.

    So, tell us, oh wise one, you don’t think, in the great scheme of things, that religion might just be merely a poisonously, virulent symptom rather than a virulently poisonous cause?

    When you look at all of the misery in the world, you don’t think to yourself: you know, on the one hand, we have the material means for creating a potential plenty for everyone on this planet; food, housing, clothing, communication, entertainment and so on. Yet, on the other hand, what we actually have is the vast majority of the world’s population living in misery, ignorance and abject poverty; a veritable breeding ground for racism, homophobia, religion, sexism, patriotism and violence.

    How come? Surely you and Coyne and that millionaire white man living in Oxfordian academia can bring to bear your collective brilliance and massive brain power on the subject? And come up with some solutions.

    What’s that? You are too busy disabusing dopey people of the silly notion that there is a friendly giant living in the sky looking over and protecting them? And that you are so jolly well adamant about this, that you reserve the right to be quite trenchant, shrill and strident in putting over your view? Especially when it comes to mindlessly abusing fellow-travellers and potential comrades.

    For fuck sake, grow up professor!

  56. 56
    Ing

    There are other atheists, just as right, who manage to be right without seeming like raving douchebags.

    Psh, the worst sin in art is being boring.

  57. 57
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Made my fucking day, reading that. Thanks, PZ.

  58. 58
    truthspeaker

    nmcc says:
    28 December 2011 at 8:57 pm

    When you look at all of the misery in the world, you don’t think to yourself: you know, on the one hand, we have the material means for creating a potential plenty for everyone on this planet; food, housing, clothing, communication, entertainment and so on. Yet, on the other hand, what we actually have is the vast majority of the world’s population living in misery, ignorance and abject poverty; a veritable breeding ground for racism, homophobia, religion, sexism, patriotism and violence.

    How come? Surely you and Coyne and that millionaire white man living in Oxfordian academia can bring to bear your collective brilliance and massive brain power on the subject? And come up with some solutions.

    What’s that? You are too busy disabusing dopey people of the silly notion that there is a friendly giant living in the sky looking over and protecting them?

    That is part of the solution.

  59. 59
    Ing

    What’s that? You are too busy disabusing dopey people of the silly notion that there is a friendly giant living in the sky looking over and protecting them? And that you are so jolly well adamant about this, that you reserve the right to be quite trenchant, shrill and strident in putting over your view? Especially when it comes to mindlessly abusing fellow-travellers and potential comrades.

    These are people who pretty much ensure I can’t live the life I’d want to. Why the fuck do they get to fuck over my life to the point that assholes vilify me for saying they’re assholes for doing so.

  60. 60
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    But more importantly, if we’re wired for anything, it’s pattern-detection and agency-detection, not “religion”. That’s testable.

    Yep. It was exactly the thesis of Bruce Hood in Supersense, for instance. As he pointed out, it’s one of the bases for superstition and belief in the supernatural. But it’s difficult to extrapolate to religions, because they generally far beyond mere belief in deities or spirits, but also try to give humanity a moral compass, rules for behaving in society, etc.

  61. 61
    madscientist

    When I’m dealing with other scientists I can say “that’s kooky and it won’t work and this is why”, but when I do the same with godbotherers I’m accused of being rude, arrogant, and close-minded. What I find arrogant and close-minded is the religious demand that their ridiculous ideas be respected rather than poo-pooed for the nonsense they are. Accommodationism only encourages the godbotherers to believe that other people respect and accept their ridiculous assertions as true.

  62. 62
    Ing

    Yeah I’m such a bad person that I hear DAILY about how my life style choice means that I should be sent to a concentration camp when I die forever, I might want to take away the warm fuzzies they get from that belief.

    Seriously, does anyone bitch about how mean we are for disabusing White Surpreamicists of the warm fuzzies of their ego trip by reminding them they’re no better than anyone else?

  63. 63
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    We often get this insistence from the accommodationists that the only way to win people over is to be nice to them — atheists should try to be good citizens who get along with everyone.

    This attitude chafes my ass like you would not believe. It’s just a fucking silencing tactic. The accommdationists can keep puckering up to religion’s asshole to their heart’s content, but when they try to shut me up, I just get pissed.

    Kind of counter-productive of them, really.

  64. 64
    Natalie Reed

    @46, Brother Ogvorbis:

    Maybe not. A lot of things have changed quite a bit over the last 30 years, not just the presence of Dawkins, Hitchens, PZ, etc. The internet, the democratization of information, the increased attendance of higher education, etc.

  65. 65
    AussieMike

    Now we know what to put on your grave stone ( a long long time from now of course). That was awesome!

  66. 66
    jjgdenisrobert

    @nmcc: what a virurently stupid rant, and so completely irrelevant to PZ’s post!

    Why should disabusing people of their delusions and helping build a better world be mutually exclusive pursuits? The fact that you seem to see them this way proves PZ’s point.

  67. 67
    jjgdenisrobert

    *virulently…

  68. 68
    John Morales

    nmcc:

    So, tell us, oh wise one, you don’t think, in the great scheme of things, that religion might just be merely a poisonously, virulent symptom rather than a virulently poisonous cause?

    It’s the symptoms that kill ya.

    Especially when it comes to mindlessly abusing fellow-travellers and potential comrades.

    He should follow your glorious example, instead?

  69. 69
    jasonloxton

    PZ has every right to be a consciously impolite “bad guy”. (It is actually sort of refreshing to see an explicit acknowledgement of that strategy here; during the DBAD debates it was often claimed that the “accomodationists” were attacking straw men when they claimed that some bloggers were not very nice.) Roping Carl Sagan in to support his position, however, is bizarre.

    Sagan was a pretty cuddly skeptic, in many ways. In the paragraph PZ quotes from, Sagan is actually explicitly arguing for a “prudent balance” between confrontation and silence in the face of comforting beliefs, a rather different position than PZ’s exhortation to be be impolite all the time.

    Sagan is a hero to me, and his work was one of the primary reasons I took up skepticism and entered science as a profession. I hope this blog post encourages some people to read The Demon Haunted World (the source of PZ’s Sagan quote) in its entirety. If you do, you may well take home the message of compassion and humility that I did.

    In that vein, here’s the paragraph that comes *directly before* the one PZ quotes.

    “In the way that skepticism is sometimes applied to issues of public concern, there is a tendency to belittle, to condescend, to ignore the fact that, deluded or not, supporters of superstition and pseudoscience are human beings with real feelings, who, like the skeptics, are trying to figure out how the world works and what our role in it might be. Their motives are in many cases consonant with science. If their culture has not given them the all the tools they need to pursue this great quest, let us temper our criticism with kindness. None of us comes fully equipped.”

  70. 70
    Ing

    Anyone who thinks that Sagan was all happy and accommodation needs to re-watch the Cosmos where he rants about the ancient mystics as petulant little elitist tyrants whose high minded mental farts were built on slave labor and self righteous justifications for privileged.

  71. 71
    Ing

    Sagan oozed pure contempt for the idea of the mystic.

  72. 72
    jjgdenisrobert

    “the increased attendance of higher education, etc.”: that increase, in the US, is minimal at best (a few percentage points), so it’s probably not involved in the increase in atheism and religious indifference in the US.

  73. 73
    'Tis Himself

    nmcc, do you have anything to say or are you just hoggling?

  74. 74
    truthspeaker

    Ing: I SPEAK FOR THE HIVEMIND GROUPTHINK says:
    28 December 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Seriously, does anyone bitch about how mean we are for disabusing White Surpreamicists of the warm fuzzies of their ego trip by reminding them they’re no better than anyone else?

    Not anymore, but fifty years ago it was a different story.

  75. 75
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    This was just what I needed to hear tonight.

    While I was driving home from work I caught part of the NPR show about Romney’s Iowa vote-getting efforts, the part where someone asked him “Yeah, I was wondering what you’re planning on doing to get ‘In God We Trust’ back into this country again because our kids can’t even celebrate Christmas in this country for fear of offending someone else,” said the potential supporter. “Y’know, when we came here, we were founded on ‘In God We Trust’ and I’d like to see that back in this country again.”

    That man made me so goddamn mad that I wanted to reach through the radio and shake him to death. Fucking asshole is worried that Romney might not be Dominionist enough to warrant voting for. I hate religious believers. Every single one of them, even the “nice” ones.

  76. 76
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    If you do, you may well take home the message of compassion and humility that I did.

    Indeed, that’s very humble. Almost ostentatiously so.

  77. 77
    'Tis Himself

    Indeed, that’s very humble. Almost ostentatiously so.

    He’s proud of his humility.

  78. 78
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    He’s proud of his humility.

    And that’s something to be humbly proud of, innit ‘Tis?

  79. 79
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    You know what bothers me most about accommodationists telling the gnus to shut up? If they had had their way, I’d still be mired in religious romanticism. Fuck them. I didn’t need someone patting my head or kissing my ass. I needed ridicule and confrontation and aggression. A challenge to defend myself. That, my friends, is real respect. It’s the respect of offering the unvarnished truth.

    (I’d pull an appropriate Firefly quote, but I don’t remember any.)

  80. 80
    colonelzen

    Liked the series, but I have real problems with the juxtaposition of technologies (yes, I heard the producer/director had some song or dance to try to justify it). And a solar system with evidently dozens of habitable or able to be made habitable worlds. Be nice if you could find it, but …

    Liked the movie … EXCEPT: Where Book dies and his last homily is “I don’t care what you believe … but believe!”. I nearly projectile vomited onto the screen fifty feet away.

    – TWZ

  81. 81
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Indeed, that’s very humble. Almost ostentatiously so

    Please. What would any of y’all know about humble? I’m far, far humbler than any of you!

    [ducks]

  82. 82
    Ing

    Liked the movie … EXCEPT: Where Book dies and his last homily is “I don’t care what you believe … but believe!”. I nearly projectile vomited onto the screen fifty feet away.

    Except what Book was saying was for Mal to have a greater purpose. SOMETHING to believe in.

    For Mal, it’s his crew…and maybe some principles of free autonomy. It has nothing to do with the supernatural.

  83. 83
    jasonloxton

    For those interested, Kylie Sturgess just posted more of the preceding chapter on her page on FTB: Token Skeptic. Not sure if the link will work, but here it is: .

    Man, Sagan sure could write. I am reminded again of what we lost with him. [Sigh.]

  84. 84
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    What a stupendously stupid rant.

    You have the gift of prophecy, nmcc.

    So, tell us, oh wise one, you don’t think, in the great scheme of things, that religion might just be merely a poisonously, virulent symptom rather than a virulently poisonous cause?

    What? It cannot be both?

    When you look at all of the misery in the world, you don’t think to yourself: you know, on the one hand, we have the material means for creating a potential plenty for everyone on this planet; food, housing, clothing, communication, entertainment and so on. Yet, on the other hand, what we actually have is the vast majority of the world’s population living in misery, ignorance and abject poverty; a veritable breeding ground for racism, homophobia, religion, sexism, patriotism and violence.

    How do you know what PZ is thinking of when he looks at the misery of the world? Well, except for all of the topics about various forms of misery that he has commented on in this blog over the years.

    How come? Surely you and Coyne and that millionaire white man living in Oxfordian academia can bring to bear your collective brilliance and massive brain power on the subject? And come up with some solutions.

    So. It is up to PZ, Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins to solve the problems of the world. What of the millions of people who also work on this every day. And often times against religious institutions, governments, wars, and general indifference.

    What’s that? You are too busy disabusing dopey people of the silly notion that there is a friendly giant living in the sky looking over and protecting them? And that you are so jolly well adamant about this, that you reserve the right to be quite trenchant, shrill and strident in putting over your view? Especially when it comes to mindlessly abusing fellow-travellers and potential comrades.

    That right, PZ cannot solve the problems of the world because he would rather verbally lash people like you.

    You, nmcc, are both shrill and stupid. This was not criticism. This was throwing a shit fit because a person who is powerless to change the world cannot change the world. And you blame PZ for his powerlessness.

    For fuck sake, grow up professor!

    For fuck sake, cram a dead porcupine up your ass. In no way shape or form have you acted like an adult, you fucking stupid petulant brat.

  85. 85
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Oh, snap! I hope you’ll appreciate the cleverness of what Kylie Sturgess did. She posted an excerpt from Sagan’s Demon-Haunted World (pp. 297-8) that ended with:

    Clearly there are limits to the uses of skepticism. There is some cost-benefit analysis which must be applied, and if the comfort, consolation and hope delivered by mysticism and superstition is high and the dangers of belief comparatively low, should we not keep our misgivings to ourselves?

    And then she added: “You can read the rest of the quote that comes after that, here”, with a link to this post!

  86. 86
    joshuaengelman

    Something from the pilot that reminded me of you:

    Simon: You had the Alliance on you… criminals and savages… half the people on the ship have been shot or wounded, including yourself… and you’re harboring known fugitives.
    Mal: We’re still flying.
    Simon: That’s not much.
    Mal: It’s enough.

  87. 87
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Wowbagger,

    I’m far, far humbler than any of you!

    Bah. You call that humble?

    Me, I’m too humble to even allude to my stupendous humility.

  88. 88
    chigau (違う)

    I’m too modest to mention how humble I am.

  89. 89
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Ing:

    It has nothing to do with the supernatural.

    But it has everything to do with faith in faith.

  90. 90
  91. 91
    shemphair1

    Mind your absolutism.

  92. 92
    Ing

    @John Morales

    In context I disagree. I think it has to do with having a reason for living rather than just going through the motions.

  93. 93
  94. 94
    stevenkukula

    We are proof that you can’t stop the signal.

    BTW: Joss Whedon is an atheist.

    Thanks for the fun, PZ.

  95. 95
    cicely

    Think you’re really righteous?
    Think you’re pure in heart?
    Well, I know I’m a million times as humble as thou art.

    -

  96. 96
    cicely

    (And something about medieval heinies.)
    -

  97. 97
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Ing, I guess I’m just going through the motions, then.

    (Whyever do you imagine any living thing needs a reason for living?)

  98. 98
    chigau (違う)

    cicely
    *snork*
    You said “heinie”
    *snork*

  99. 99
    willym

    If you really want to incur the wrath of the anointed, join my campaign to tax the churches. Let’s make these freeloaders pay up for their incessant proselytizing, politicking by proxy, and all the mischief they’re able to foment because they’ve got the edge on the rest of us: they can do it all for free. Why should these institutions of infernal mischief get off unmolested by the I.R.S. unlike the rest of us commoners?
    Here’s how to join: write a letter to your local newspaper suggesting this idea. Use any argument you want, from reasonable to emotional, just so long as the “tax religion” message gets across at least three times, ideal for the attention impaired. Then, if the spirit still moves you, write letters to your elected representatives, politely but firmly stating your message. I don’t expect this to catch on in a hurry; but if enough folks follow through in enough states, we may get the ears of the members of congress. If they hear money in the idea, this could be huge.
    Best of all, it doesn’t cost you much except a few minutes.
    Go get ‘em.

  100. 100
    Ing

    @John Morales

    There’s a difference between faith and making a connection to other human beings.

    (Whyever do you imagine any living thing needs a reason for living?)

    You’re not exactly the standard representative.

  101. 101
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Ing, maybe not, but maybe so.

    Of all the living things on this planet, what proportion of them do you think need a reason for living? :)

  102. 102
    sc_ece3c77c2d114dca8c9bf2650b92a3f4

    BEST. POST. EVER.
    Thank you.
    That is all.

  103. 103
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    So don’t be vain,
    And don’t be whiny,
    Or brother I just might have to get
    Medieval on your heiney.

    Oh, and lovely, lovely cranky PZ. People just can’t fucking stand hearing what needs to be said.

  104. 104
    lucquardo

    In support of razzlefrog and jasonloxton, would you have found their points more compelling if phrased along the lines of:

    “well done completely missing Sagan’s point, you illiterate nimrod. Interpreting his observation (that silence promotes an atmosphere where replying is impolite) as being a call to be impolite makes you either stupid or evil”

    Or is it more persuasive without the ad hominems?

    I love a good spleen-vent as much as the next grumpy atheist, and PZs had its moments of adolescent satisfaction, but don’t kid yourself that this is the way to win the propaganda war. I think there is an important role for the rabid wing of atheism: it normalizes the less rabid, frank but fair criticism (a la Dawkins); it boosts our morale; it is the only thing some of our enemies deserve…

    BUT don’t forget that the real front of this battle is not with the (admittedly numerous) nutters but with the vast majority of well-meaning religious people who are fertile ground for a Sagan brand of skepticism.

    Child rape, murder, misogyny etc should be abhorred for their own sake, but if you make them one of your main complaints against religion then you leave room for non-rapist religious people (quite a few of them) to retreat to. We dont need to prove religion is evil… it is WRONG. That’s what matters. Attack evil because it is evil (religious or otherwise). Attack religion because it is false, and (even without raping children) it is a barrier to intellectual and moral adulthood.

  105. 105
    samsalerno

    Yes. I love this kind of aggression. That shit gets me pumped up. It’s accommodation that got us in this mess in the first place. Oh those silly religious people wouldn’t hurt a flee. Right, they would just hang you upside down and shake every last cent out of you. And then proceed to tell you that you’re not worth a shit unless you follow their bullshit doctrine.
    Fuck that buddy buddy shit. They aren’t making any effort to buddy up with us. In fact they’re trying to make us look immoral and unethical at every turn.
    Accommodate my ass. Prepare for battle you cowardly weasels.

  106. 106
    John Morales

    lucquardo:

    … a Sagan brand of skepticism

    Skepticism is the requirement for credible evidence and/or reasoning upon which to provisionally accept a proposition; Sagan’s brand is no different to PZ’s or mine.

    (It has nothing to do with circumspection or soft-pedalling)

  107. 107
    consciousness razor

    Or is it more persuasive without the ad hominems?

    Those were just insults; but no, that wouldn’t have made it more persuasive.

    I think there is an important role for the rabid wing of atheism: it normalizes the less rabid, frank but fair criticism (a la Dawkins);

    Dawkins is less rabid than whom? PZ? You? Me?

    it boosts our morale; it is the only thing some of our enemies deserve…

    I don’t think this is about moral desert. I think this is about making people recognize that doing ridiculous things can have bad consequences for them. Not ridiculously bad consequences, because speaking to someone harshly or with vulgar language is nothing compared to the shit a lot of goddists do. For now it will have to do, but I could do without the accompanying noise generated by faitheists, pearl-clutchers and assorted hand-wringers.

    BUT don’t forget that the real front of this battle is not with the (admittedly numerous) nutters but with the vast majority of well-meaning religious people who are fertile ground for a Sagan brand of skepticism.

    You think the admittedly numerous nutters don’t mean well? I think a lot of them sincerely believe they’re saving us from eternal damnation, nutty as that sounds. So what are we to do?

    We dont need to prove religion is evil… it is WRONG. That’s what matters. Attack evil because it is evil (religious or otherwise). Attack religion because it is false, and (even without raping children) it is a barrier to intellectual and moral adulthood.

    So what does it matter whether one is a well-meaning religious person or a nutter? Both are wrong. In fact, both are wrong about some pretty evil shit, but the complaints against gnus aren’t about us “attacking” child rapists (most of the complaints, anyway) rather than being skeptical of religious claims. It’s about us existing, period, and otherwise for criticizing religion in general for any reason.

  108. 108
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Though I overall feel the same love for Firefly as PZ does for cats, those are some excellent quotes. And PZ, you are excellent when you’re cranky.

    To those mealy-mouthed skidmarks who whine that being cranky won’t change minds: we already fucking know it does. We’ve had enough people say so on here. Fuck’s sake, I’m one of them.

    Liars for their gods will always take whatever inch you give and grab a mile, shaking you down and sweetly telling you you’ll suffer and burn and scream forever because their sky-father loves you. Fuck that, and fuck them. I’m giving no quarter, and I won’t accept their absolute nonsense with a smile.

  109. 109
    rudrickboucher

    I know that this has already been said half a million times in response to this post…

    Firefly rocks! They only cancelled it to keep Joss Whedon from becoming the new lord of sci-fi.

    I’m convinced that Gene Roddenberry’s heirs conspired with George Lucas (Brad Wright and John Glassner might have been in on it too) to cancel it.

    Words cannot describe the aspie-gasm I just had reading your defense of atheism using Firefly quotes.

    One semi-pertinent exchange to add:

    Zoe: Preacher, don’t the bible have some pretty specific things to say about killin’?

    Book: Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.

  110. 110
    ivr

    We often get this insistence from the accommodationists that the only way to win people over is to be nice to them

    It’s never the only way to win people over – just like being an asshole is never the only way to win people over. It may be more effective in certain cases – that can’t be argued with. But neither way is the only way to deal with every person every time. I say this because the attitude in the post and in the comments towards people who don’t take this stance has a whiff of “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” bullshit.

    It’s kind of like how PETA is – sometimes their methods are very effective but for the most part, I believe, they’ve hurt their cause far more than helped it with some of the more ridiculous stunts they pull because they give people an excuse for dismissing everything else they do. When people are always screaming at the top of their lungs, it’s easier to tune them out.

    I became a vegan last year because the science linking animal protein to cancer and heart disease seems pretty solid through books like The China Study and The Food Revolution. The latter book especially talks about the environmental harm that’s done by cutting so many rainforests down to raise cattle for human consumption – up to 80% of the amazon according to a study by greenpeace linked to from this site. So meat eating at least correlates with climate change through deforestation of rain forests.

    Now I couldn’t be more aware that I’m not smarter than everyone, but I think I’m right for being a vegan. But I also know I won’t convince a single person on this blog or anywhere else by screaming that you’re a knuckle-dragging fucktard murderer for shoveling that triple-bacon-ham-pork-chicken-steak-burger in your fat face – people will become vegans/vegetarians for their own reasons if they choose and the same can be said for religious people becoming atheists.

    Scream at the top of your lungs and be as much of a fucking asshole as you want, no one can stop you. I just think you’re as likely to be doing so to make yourself feel good as you are changing anyone’s minds if that’s your goal. If your goal is just to insult people, than most people here are tremendous artists at it and I enjoy the entertainment.

  111. 111
    Vijen

    Wonderful stuff, classic PZ, I’m 99.9% behind it. Up yours religious perverts!

    Except that “mysticism” is not a synonym for “woo”, nor for “dogma”, nor for “revelation”: mysticism is subjective science.

    Nobody cares much about your opinions on (objective) science unless you’ve spent a good many years getting a scientific education.

    Likewise, until you’ve spent a similar amount of time investigating your own subjectivity, your views on what it is really like to be conscious aren’t worth much.

  112. 112
    John Morales

    ivr:

    Scream at the top of your lungs and be as much of a fucking asshole as you want, no one can stop you.

    Yeah, they generally can, and do.

    For example, one can be banned from a blog, or ejected from a public space.

    [OT]

    Now I couldn’t be more aware that I’m not smarter than everyone, but I think I’m right for being a vegan.

    Fine by me.

    … people will become vegans/vegetarians for their own reasons if they choose and the same can be said for religious people becoming atheists.

    False comparison: meat exists, gods don’t. :)

    (Also, religious ≠ theistic, though largely the sets intersect — for example, Raëlians consider themselves atheists.)

  113. 113
    ivr

    John Morales: Fair enough on the point about shouting at the top of your lungs; but being an asshole? No can stop you from that, it’s practically encouraged in this society we live in. People may not want to hang around you all that often…

    As far as the meat/god equivalency, I know it’s not the perfect comparison, but the approach to changing minds for both groups works in the much the same way, I’ve found at least. I’ve never been able to insult anyone into agreeing with me, but maybe I’m just not that good at it.

    I realize there are times to turn it up to ’11′, but if it’s at all times then it becomes easier to ignore and kind of takes away from its effectiveness.

  114. 114
    gmc

    My favorite Firefly quote gets me through some rough patches. Sometimes, we are forced to butt heads against a religionist trying to teach nonsense or abrogate rights. Sometimes we are right end of a ruling. Often, we are on the other…

    Mal: “May have been the losing side; Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

  115. 115
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ colonelzen

    “I don’t care what you believe … but believe!”. I nearly projectile vomited onto the screen fifty feet away.

    The great apologist (*) for religion, William James, had a really high regard for belief and defended his position to the cheers of the goddists.

    In his book: “The Will to Believe” he sets out as good a case for belief as I have ever seen. It is still as holy holey as Swiss cheese, but at least something that can be engaged with. Without plowing through vapid books on sophistimicated theology, I do not see anything that approaches his level of thought and effort anywhere on the xtian horizon. And the apologists of today have become just as bad. We should not even grant them the name of religious arguments. The arguments are mere rationalisations of wish thinking and belief in the supernatural. What higher purpose of their superstitious bunk?

    He identifies three “departments” in human decision making: The brute facts of nature as so well explained by science (he castigates goddists for not coming to the party in that department), next is the theoretic/defining department of philosophic construction. The final department is that of the will, the aspiration, the action undertaken to achieve beyond ourselves, the realm of belief (which proceeds to be actualised = made true by action).

    It is in that final department that he claims religion holds forth and that science, skepticism and secularism have failed. They do not cause us to take action to reach beyond our current selves. (Though an outcome might not be true now, through effort it may become so.)

    Personally I find his arguments do not support (contemporary) religious tendencies. On the other hand he does make a pleasant argument hereby (though unstated by him, as far as I know) in support of Humanism or a broader PZ-style atheism.

    (*) On the other hand he has quite vocally attacked – as delusion – that which the current crop of goddists claim to believe.

  116. 116
    John Morales

    [OT]

    ivr:

    I’ve never been able to insult anyone into agreeing with me, but maybe I’m just not that good at it.

    You’re looking at it wrong; it’s not about making them agree with you, it’s about making them recognise the ridiculousness of their position via ridicule. First step in fixing a problem, that is.

    I realize there are times to turn it up to ’11′, but if it’s at all times then it becomes easier to ignore and kind of takes away from its effectiveness.

    Really?

    (I’ve seen better metaphors)

  117. 117
    ivr

    John Morales:
    I just don’t see it being that different – I take my 61 year old mother for example. She has never pushed anything on me as far as her beliefs. She avoids the topic with me as much as possible. But I know to her that when I constantly rail against religion and how ridiculously stupid it is, she can’t avoid thinking that I’m saying she’s an idiot for believing in it. Making her feel like an idiot is never my intention, so how is it that I can ridicule her beliefs without insulting her directly? She’s the one who holds those beliefs, so I don’t see how you can do one without the other being a consequence.

    For the metaphor, you’re right it sucked (I’m clearly not very good at this). Especially since I was trying to reference spinal tap in a pretty unfunny way. But do you disagree with the premise? Besides physical torture, doesn’t yelling and screaming about anything, including the evils of religion/eating meat become easy to tune out if it’s all the time?

    Thing is, I have the same goals as you and PZ-atheists do. I am not in any way saying that we shouldn’t ever insult these beliefs, or accommodate the people who are trying to spread these myths – they are without a doubt an impediment to truth. I’m just trying to understand and trying to learn how best to blow away this fog of irrational belief without alienating good people like my mom and other friends who are just trying to be good people and think, however misguidedly, that their belief helps them be a better person.

    Bottom line: it feels like the prevailing thought here is if you don’t insult the fuck out of these beliefs and by extension these people, then you are nothing but a pearl-clutching accomodationist. I just think there has to be a middle ground to that black/white mindset.

  118. 118
    Shiroferetto

    “I aim to misbehave.”

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

    PZ, this is just the sort of thing that we’ve been discussing in a local community of “freethinkers.” (Let me tell you, it includes everything from religious apologists to hardcore militant atheists like myself.)

    There is a belief, pervasive and poisonous, that those who feel strongly that religion is a social ill should shut up and sit down and make nice with the Christians. (They don’t apparently count the Muslims because… /well/, that would be too much.) It’s not our job, they say, to speak out against injustices perpetrated by the religious or to point out why religion is so goddamned evil.

    I say bullshit. I say we should have bullhorns in our hands, shouting from the tenements like a scene from Network. WE’RE MAD AS HELL, AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANY MORE!

    I made a secret Facebook group to accomodate the members of the larger group that had been getting censored, screwed, and generally jackbooted by the upper management of the “freethinkers.” In this hidey hole, we can cuss, discuss real issues, not have to tiptoe around the religionistas and the “Why can’t we all just get along” atheists.

    As an example of the kind of horseshit I mean, I offer up this interesting article from Cracked (yes, I know…). It’s a serious article–as far as I can tell–with some off-color language, but what it does is attempt to neuter the conversation entirely. Well… I gotta tell ya, folks:

    Ya can’t stop the signal.

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-both-atheists-believers-need-to-stop-saying/

  119. 119
    kearneykd

    I’m disappointed at the absence of this line:

    Mal – You’re welcome on my boat… God ain’t.

  120. 120
    ohnhai

    Take my love, take my land
    Take me where I can not stand
    I don’t care I’m still free
    You can’t take the sky from me..

    My coat is so brown…

    And yes. No power in the verse… (except those natural forces well documented and observed by rigorous theory and experimentation…)

  121. 121
    unclefrogy

    above it was said that we may not be wired for religion but for pattern recognition. That is true but I think along with that we have a deep attraction for stories we use them all the time for every thing we love all the devices of language. it is not just the pattern we need that by itself is too abstract it is the story. It is the story in religion and not the sophisticated theology that convinces people it is the fantastic story that causes all the fucking problems with religion.
    we are hard wired for stories it seems. I can not think of any area of thought that we do not use stories to try and explain. even our thought experiments are they not stories they are often not very abstract. we sell products with stories we sell politics with stories, we sell war with stories. We tell ourselves stories about our own lives about who or what we are.
    Then here comes some pushy in your face atheist saying it is just a made up story there are no gods.

    it may not be very polite to just tell people the truth about it but there are worse things the being impolite. I just do not think we have the time to be some f’n polite any more it is time to look at the real story the real history of man and this earth and work out what we are going to do next because if we keep doing the same old my story is the right one thing we have been doing we are going to end in a another catastrophe just like we have in the past but this time we may never recover.

    uncle frogy

  122. 122
    Shiroferetto

    There’s nothing sophisticated about theology.

  123. 123
    John Morales

    ivr:

    But I know to her that when I constantly rail against religion and how ridiculously stupid it is, she can’t avoid thinking that I’m saying she’s an idiot for believing in it. Making her feel like an idiot is never my intention, so how is it that I can ridicule her beliefs without insulting her directly?

    The dying grandma gambit?

    My mom was born in 1932, and goes to church as often as her health allows, and prays for me every day. So what? She knows how I feel, I know how she feels, we get along fine — we’ve already nutted this out.

    (I think I inherited my disputative disposition from her)

    Besides physical torture, doesn’t yelling and screaming about anything, including the evils of religion/eating meat become easy to tune out if it’s all the time?

    Well, how easy is it for atheists to tune out goddists’ goddism? :)

    (It’s been background noise all our lives, yet we don’t seem all that blasé about it, do we?)

    Bottom line: it feels like the prevailing thought here is if you don’t insult the fuck out of these beliefs and by extension these people, then you are nothing but a pearl-clutching accomodationist.

    Does it? I thought it was more like if you tell me I can never, ever insult the fuck out of these beliefs and by extension these people, then you are nothing but a pearl-clutcher, and if you tell me (for example) I should try to sell them on science by claiming it will strengthen their faith (or to not address their epistemic stance), then you are an accommodationist.

    (If you do both, you’re both)

    I just think there has to be a middle ground to that black/white mindset.

    Like this, perhaps? Dear Emma B.

  124. 124
    quisquose

    Another fantastic post by PZ. It’s always useful to have the wrongs of religious dogma summarised in one place:

    I see priests raping children. I see a publicity-seeking nun praising pain and suffering, poverty and sickness. I see politicians pandering for votes by demanding the persecution of gays in the name of Jesus. I see godly men declaring that the role of women is to be silent and subservient…and brood a quiverful of children. I see fanatics strapping explosives to their bodies and killing randomly in the name of their god. I see lobbyists hard at work, trying to dilute science education, and suggesting that we teach the Flintstones as fact in our biology classes. I see a pope in fancy silks and gold-bedecked palace urging people to shun materialism and savor the simple life. I see deluded people opposing work to alleviate climate change because they’re sure God wouldn’t let it happen. I see ordinary people certain that these are the End Times, rejoicing in our imagined imminent apocalypse, and actively working to bring it about.

    I would like to add to LykeX’s recommendation of another wrong in post 33 above with one more.

    Fanatics voluntarily removing themselves from contributing anything useful to society at all, trying to out parasite each other.

    This behaviour is becoming a particular problem in Israel with ultra-orthodox Jews, but I see many ultra-orthodox Muslims voluntarily making themselves unemployable with their choice of adherence to religious dogma.

  125. 125
    Kel

    The funny thing about the grandma gambit is that I’ve done it. Would I tell my dying grandmother that I think religion is bullshit? What do you mean “would”? ;)

    The world didn’t end. Though I really do miss my grandma :(

  126. 126
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    That’s us. No silence. We fight the idea that skepticism might be impolite by being impolite all the time, making the questioning of dogma commonplace and frequent. After all, why should it be considered so awful for a horde of atheists to point out that Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Hinduism are ridiculous? The are ridiculous and are going to get ridiculed.

    And besides, how better to deliver a wakeup call than being a total cock?

  127. 127
    carbonbasedlifeform

    So when people, atheists and theists alike, complain that I’m obnoxious, I feel good about it.

    An attitude of “I’m an asshole and proud to be one” is not going to win many hearts and minds.

  128. 128
    sisu

    Sawells @13:

    Have any of you guys been following Camels with Hammers? For some reason Eric Steinhart is posting a lengthy series of screeds based on constructing an atheist form of Wicca in which we think that the Immanent Power of Being-Itself is sacred, holy and divine.

    Seriously: what is up with that series? I read a few of them and felt like I was missing the point… is there a point?

  129. 129
    carlie

    Child rape, murder, misogyny etc should be abhorred for their own sake, but if you make them one of your main complaints against religion then you leave room> for non-rapist religious people (quite a few of them) to retreat to. We dont need to prove religion is evil… it is WRONG. That’s what matters.

    In my mind, stopping child rape is what matters, more than what the people stopping it believe in. So, you know, it would be a really good idea to stop the child rape thing FIRST, and then hopefully get people out of a religious mindset after. I’d rather shame Christians into stopping the hurtful rot in their own religion so that children stop getting raped.

  130. 130
    Aquaria

    How does that play out in Morris? Not the university, but in the town. Morris is a small town, and I wonder whether you are vocal about your atheism in person as well as online. If so, have you ever had any problems in the community?

    My stepfather was an out and open and in-your-face atheist in East Texas. In the 70s. I have likewise been open about who I am, both when I lived there and now. PZ probably is as well.

    Just because you don’t have the guts to be honest with people about what you are doesn’t mean the rest of us are so cowardly and dishonest.

  131. 131
    Aquaria

    Child rape, murder, misogyny etc should be abhorred for their own sake, but if you make them one of your main complaints against religion then you leave room> for non-rapist religious people (quite a few of them) to retreat to. We dont need to prove religion is evil… it is WRONG. That’s what matters.

    Sigh. So much idiocy.

    The reason we draw so much attention to the child-rape and the rest is because religion touts itself as the source of morality, that people without religion can’t be moral, and yet it does these immoral things, things that atheists condemn as immoral.

    It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.

    Do keep up.

  132. 132
    majorpriapus

    I can understand PZ Meyers sense outraged exasperation and anger. I still think he goes too far and some posts here remind me of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion writ Christian.

    Let us remember that for millennia and across the planet devout Christians established orphanages, schools, hospices and hospitals caring for widows and orphans; the poor and dispossessed; the sick and dying.

    Some hard data: The Irish Potato Famine washed up more than 17,000 of the poorest, most illiterate and debilitated immigrants ever to reach the shores where I currently reside.
    That was followed by an 1854 cholera epidemic which left countless homeless orphans in our locale. The Sisters of Charity abandoned their comfortable digs in Boston and came to the rescue by building an orphanage, a school and later a hospital.

    Even our first free girls’ school was established by these sisters. Across the Maritimes, oppressed French Canadians were raised from indentured servitude (slavery actually) – thanks again to education provided by Catholic altruism.

    Has the Catholic Church been and continue to be a positive influence in history? I understand both POVs and regard some angry posts as far too glib and facile.

    Oh and on the topic of religion as superstition: Pope Benedict XVI recently appointed Edward M. De Robertis to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

    Here is his inaugural address: EVO-DEVO: THE MERGING OF EVOLUTIONARY AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
    http://www.hhmi.ucla.edu/derobertis/EDR_MS/Evo-Devo_page/EVO-DEVO.html

    This all just for the record.

    Hey – I am no Christian – truth be told I too am an atheist. That said – I cannot stand by and witness this cyber-lynching without speaking up.

    That all aside – like everyone here – I too view Fundies little differently than Nazis embracing the “big lie” to sway the credulous.

    On this we all agree.

    However – and this is the important bit – if we are to win the battle for the hearts and minds of their brainwashed youth and bring them to the side of correct reason: angry ad hominems are NOT the way to go about it!

    I humbly submit that it is possible to be simultaneously intelligent, scientifically grounded, sane/lucid and devoutly religious. It would be nice to see an end to these unnecessary straw-man rebuttals.

    Allow me a melodramatic turn of phrase: Will PZ Meyers go down in history as having promoted Evolution as public orthodoxy (akin to the efforts of Stephen Jay Gould) or will Myers be noted in some historical footnote as actually having turned out to be an impediment to the cause? Of all the questions I raise – this one alone should give occasion to pause and reconsider.

    Forgive this drive-by posting. I have no intention of lingering to witness the predictable hate-filled diatribes by morons who cannot understand we are actually all on the same side on the important issues of opposing superstition and promoting evolution in the mainstream thought.

    I remain a devoted and grateful fan – best regards to one and all.

  133. 133
    Matt Penfold

    I can understand PZ Meyers sense outraged exasperation and anger. I still think he goes too far and some posts here remind me of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion writ Christian.

    What things remind you off is your problem, not PZ Myers.

  134. 134
    anteprepro

    Some posts here remind me of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion writ Christian.

    Wow. Just fucking wow.

    Let us remember that for millennia and across the planet devout Christians established orphanages, schools, hospices and hospitals caring for widows and orphans; the poor and dispossessed; the sick and dying.

    Let us remember that Christians made up the vast majority of people in the countries where they did those things. So fucking what? Do you really think that they established schools, orphanages and hospitals just because of their faith? If so, why is it that largest, most religious segment of present-day American society happens to be the segment that most opposes support for the sick (via government health care) and poor (via welfare)?

    That said – I cannot stand by and witness this cyber-lynching without speaking up.

    You have no sense of perspective. None at all.

    I humbly submit that it is possible to be simultaneously intelligent, scientifically grounded, sane/lucid and devoutly religious.

    I submit that everyone knows that this is true, but that the person is not intelligent nor scientifically grounded nor sane/lucid on the issue of their religion. Ever. The atheists who deny this are atheists who just can’t be arsed to actually try grappling with what actual “intelligent” believers say about their religion.

  135. 135
    raven

    blockquote>Let us remember that for millennia and across the planet devout Christians established orphanages, schools, hospices and hospitals caring for widows and orphans; the poor and dispossessed; the sick and dying.

    That may be true.

    I have a high regard for the Unitarians myself. They housed one of the anti-Vietnam war groups when I was growing up. And were harassed by the FBI for it pretty seriously.

    But it is a bit one sided to just list the positive actions of the RCC. They also held onto power by massacring people by the tens of thousands and even millions. Culminating in the Reformation wars which killed tens of millions of people.

    The RCC institutionalized antisemitism which resulted in 2,000 years of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Pope Pius XII threw the Jews under the bus to work out deals highly favorable to the Germans.

    Really it is OK to list the positive contributions if you want but it is not OK to ignore the other side of the coin. We could do the same thing for George Bush, Mao, or Soviet Russia and make them look like saints.

  136. 136
    raven

    That said – I cannot stand by and witness this cyber-lynching without speaking up.

    But you apparently have no problem when the fundies attack science, attack scientists, and try to sneak their mythology into our kid’s science classes.

    You have no problem with xians spreading hate against gays, women, children, other religions, each other, and most of humanity.

    You have no problem with xian Dominionists trying to take over our society and destroy it.

    You have no problem with the female slavers and forced birthers.

    You have no problem with many of us including myself getting death threats for years on end from the fundies.

    You have no problem with cults based on hate, lies, hypocrisy, and ignorance.

    I could go on but why bother. BTW, I’m finding it hard to believe majorpriapus is an atheist. He seems a Delusional to me. If he really is one, he would be of more use to the atheist causes by finding a xian cult and joining one. Make them look bad, not us.

  137. 137
    supermental

    Firefly was one of the finest shows ever put together. Shame that Adam Baldwin turned out to be a tea-bagging freak.

  138. 138
    raven

    I humbly submit that it is possible to be simultaneously intelligent, scientifically grounded, sane/lucid and devoutly religious.

    That is true. It just seems to be hard and there aren’t very many of them nor are they very visible anymore.

    If they were, there wouldn’t be any New Atheists, who were created by the New Dark Agers of fundieism.

    Mostly we see the fundies who have taken over the Dark side and the lunatic fringes of our society and are a huge drag on a good day and might destroy us on a bad one.

  139. 139
    raven

    Will PZ Meyers go down in history as having promoted Evolution as public orthodoxy (akin to the efforts of Stephen Jay Gould) or will Myers be noted in some historical footnote as actually having turned out to be an impediment to the cause? Of all the questions I raise – this one alone should give occasion to pause and reconsider.

    This is an easy one.

    If we are lucky, this is the century that the malevolent versions of US xianity collapse similar to what happened in Europe, NZ, Australia, and Japan.

    The big religious trend of the 20th century has been the rise of the Nones. They went from about zero to a billion people, a huge change worldwide.

    PZ Myers will be one of the heroes and leaders. The vaguely humanoid toads that lead fundie xianity will be seen for what they are.

    And majorpriapus will just be another kooky internet troll with nothing intellligent or coherent to say.

    If we are not lucky, a Rapture soaked idiot like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, or Sarah Palin will get their hand on our nuclear weapons and decide to help jesus by setting off Armageddon. Despite religionists claim that jesus is god and all powerful, he can’t seem to do anything without human help.

  140. 140
    truthspeaker

    supermental says:
    29 December 2011 at 9:50 am

    Firefly was one of the finest shows ever put together. Shame that Adam Baldwin turned out to be a tea-bagging freak.

    I know! He was fantastic on Firefly and also on Angel – his character was downright chilling.

  141. 141
    Crow

    Regarding living in Morris:

    Minnesota nice definitely does prevail. Nobody really gets open disdain here. Hell, even the known pedophile (convicted exhibitionist at the very least) who sits at the bar every single day is politely ignored by most. He gets open disdain from me.

    I have been a long-time small businessman here and felt strongly that I needed to stay in the closet. 80% of our client base were Xian, and a decent chunk of that 80% may not have wanted to do business with an atheist. I’ll never know exactly how being a vocal atheist would’ve affected business as my livelihood was a bit too important to wager on a social experiment.

    Now that I’m out of the small business world I feel a bit more comfortable to be more vocal (or at least not hiding) my atheist status. The town recognizes that there is a lot of diversity (largely due to the culture brought in by the University) and are generally tolerant of it even if they would prefer it otherwise.

    It does make me feel good to see PZ at the grocery store (we only have the one), at special events, or around campus in that if he can live a comfortable, safe life here then I have nothing to worry about.

  142. 142
    shelleyblondeau

    I love that we’re fighting the good fight with even better dialogue, thanks to Joss Whedon.

    I’m off to misbehave now.

  143. 143
    henryashley-cooper

    Well written, however, this sentence has a problem:

    “We fight the idea that skepticism might be impolite by being impolite all the time, making the questioning of dogma commonplace and frequent. ”

    I think it should read as follows:

    “We fight the idea that scepticism might be impolite by being sceptical all the time, making the questioning of dogma commonplace and frequent.”

  144. 144
    majorpriapus

    Wow!

    Amazing – just amazing.

    Idle curiosity got the best of me and I took a peek at all the arc-reflex responses to my previous post.

    Re: “… Do you really think that they established schools, orphanages and hospitals just because of their faith?”

    Um – I think the obvious answer to that would be YES.

    Re: “I have a high regard for the Unitarians myself…. it is a bit one sided to just list the positive actions of the RCC.”

    I am (like you apparently) an atheist – so I am not up to speed on the details of various xian denominations. For the record – would you happen to know how many orphanages, schools, hospices and hospitals caring for widows and orphans; the poor and dispossessed; the sick and dying your Unitarians have established over the last two millennia?

    Re: “…Really it is OK to list the positive contributions if you want but it is not OK to ignore the other side of the coin. We could do the same thing for George Bush, Mao, or Soviet Russia and make them look like saints.”

    Ummm – if you actually read my post you would realize that I am in complete agreement!

    Re: “…But you apparently have no problem when the fundies attack science, attack scientists, and try to sneak their mythology into our kid’s science classes… You have no problem with many of us including myself getting death threats for years on end from the fundies… etc etc etc”

    I am most curious – could you please direct exactly where any statement of mine could be remotely misconstrued along those lines?! Nah – don’t bother. I am signing off and will not be around to witness any more such silliness!

    ITMT – I guess I am lucky to reside in Canada. I have not heard tell of such like here.

    Re: “…If we are not lucky, a Rapture soaked idiot like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, or Sarah Palin will get their hand on our nuclear weapons and decide to help jesus by setting off Armageddon.”

    Excuse me?! And this same poster accused ME of being a “…another kooky internet troll with nothing intelligent or coherent to say…”

    I remain slack-jawed!

    I should have trusted my first instinct and refrained from peeking.

    Here is a possible suggestion to PZ Myers: I would like to link his excellent posts to my own AP Biology school website. I am prevented from doing so because of school board policy. If you were to restrict Pharyngula to Biology while allowing yourself to wax eloquent regarding the evils of religion elsewhere on a parallel site, my students would benefit greatly.

    Thanks in advance for even considering the request…

    I remain a devoted and grateful fan & best regards to one and all.

    adios

  145. 145
    'Tis Himself

    Forgive this drive-by posting. I have no intention of lingering to witness the predictable hate-filled diatribes by morons who cannot understand we are actually all on the same side on the important issues of opposing superstition and promoting evolution in the mainstream thought.

    So you’re going to whine but you don’t have the moral courage to read rebuttals to your whining. And you expect us to be impressed by your whines.

    If you ever come back your porcupine is waiting, cupcake.

  146. 146
    'Tis Himself

    majorpriapus

    Here is a possible suggestion to PZ Myers: I would like to link his excellent posts to my own AP Biology school website. I am prevented from doing so because of school board policy. If you were to restrict Pharyngula to Biology while allowing yourself to wax eloquent regarding the evils of religion elsewhere on a parallel site, my students would benefit greatly.

    I have another suggestion. If you want a purely biological blog then why don’t you start one yourself. Then you wouldn’t have to wade through all the icky liberal, atheist shit that you so deplore.

    Thanks in advance for even considering the request…

    Thanks in advance for using your decaying porcupine in the proper manner.

    adios

    Methinks majorpriapus is ignorant of basic Spanish.

  147. 147
    anteprepro

    Um – I think the obvious answer to that would be YES.

    Citation? What about orphanages and hospitals are inherent to religious faith or Christianity specifically? Oh, and I see you pretend that we were so harsh to you while ignoring the fact that you accused PZ of writing something equivalent to antisemitic falsehoods and performing a “cyber-lynching”. Your hypocritical concern is noted.

    Here is a possible suggestion to PZ Myers: I would like to link his excellent posts to my own AP Biology school website. I am prevented from doing so because of school board policy. If you were to restrict Pharyngula to Biology while allowing yourself to wax eloquent regarding the evils of religion elsewhere on a parallel site, my students would benefit greatly.

    This is a two-fer:
    It’s awful good of you to ask for someone to only talk about things you approve of on their personal blog so that you can personally benefit from that. Or, rather, it’s remarkably pushy for someone who is suggesting that PZ is guilty of being pushy regarding religion.
    And, of course, there is the fact that PZ’s old Pharyngula site on scienceblogs is receiving all of the biologically-relevant material that is posted on this site, and none of the posts about politics or religion. But I’m sure that’s not good enough for you, because some of the posts also bash creationists still.

  148. 148
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Hey – I am no Christian – truth be told I too am an atheist. That said – I cannot stand by and witness this cyber-lynching without speaking up.

    And yet you seem to think that there is something special about christianity that makes people preform social charity.

    Here is a fucking clue for you, humans have been doing this through out all of human history.

    Also, the current anti-humane pope has a mouth piece who endorses evolution. Bib fucking deal. This is research that happened in-spite of the church, not supported.

    Also, cyber-lynching? Fuck you, you fucking pile of maggot meat. Let know when a group of us pick out a random christian and hang that person. Criticism is not the same as killing.

    Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion? Fucking Fox News would be to ashamed to lead off with that charge and that is a propaganda arm that has little contact with reality.

    Majorpimpledass, you end by claiming that you are a big fan. If, you were, you would fucking know how to spell “PZ Myers”. You would also know enough not to leave a festering pile of fact free shit here. You have also left shit smears on other threads so I feel safe in telling you this, pound that dead porcupine deep up your anal cavity. And while you are at it, make room for Tim Tebow’s brain. (You will not need much room.)

  149. 149
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Here is a possible suggestion to PZ Myers: I would like to link his excellent posts to my own AP Biology school website. I am prevented from doing so because of school board policy. If you were to restrict Pharyngula to Biology while allowing yourself to wax eloquent regarding the evils of religion elsewhere on a parallel site, my students would benefit greatly.

    You accuse PZ Myers of inciting violence and engaging in race baiting propaganda and you are slack jawed that people are not being nice to you? And you make this request?

    You are an idiot of the first degree. You are not on anybody’s side here. You want PZ to shut up.

    Just go away and link to BioLogos. You would be doing a great disservice to your students but it would more fit your style.

  150. 150
    karellen

    How come no-one else has mentioned:

    Book: What are we up to, sweetheart?
    River: Fixing your Bible.
    Book: I, um… What?
    River: Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics – doesn’t make sense.
    Book: No, no. You-you-you can’t…
    River: So we’ll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God’s creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah’s ark is a problem.
    Book: Really?
    River: We’ll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat.
    Book: Give me that. River, you don’t fix the Bible.
    River: It’s broken. Doesn’t make sense.

  151. 151
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I do not think that Book was a preacher. Or if he was, he became one after he was done with a career as an intelligence agent. Or being a preacher was a cover.

    Dammit, Joss killed him off before trying to explain Book’s back pages.

  152. 152
    Inaji

    Shiny rant, PZ. *Clenched Tentacle Salute:

  153. 153
    Jadehawk

    what is it with accommodationists and the complete inability to use the term “ad hominem” correctly?

  154. 154
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Jadehawk, let us try to be fair. Was there any idea or concept that majorpimpledass used correctly?

  155. 155
    Ing

    Of all the living things on this planet, what proportion of them do you think need a reason for living? :)

    There are times this year where without the people I care for I would have probably killed myself. If it were just me it life would have a lot less value.

    And honestly, I probably would have been more likely to do so than a theist because I wouldn’t even have an imaginary friend to fall back on.

  156. 156
    truthspeaker

    janine says:
    29 December 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I do not think that Book was a preacher. Or if he was, he became one after he was done with a career as an intelligence agent. Or being a preacher was a cover.

    Dammit, Joss killed him off before trying to explain Book’s back pages

    It’s in the comic books. Book really did become a preacher after ending his career in intelligence.

  157. 157
    majorpriapus

    @ anteprepro & janine

    Thank you! Thank you!!!

    I was unaware of the parallel site! I am in your debt.

    FTR – some posters here should brush up on some remedial reading skills before pretending to cite me.

    I never accused PZM of inciting hate – My exact quote:

    “I can understand PZ Meyers sense outraged exasperation and anger.” (apologies for the inintended typo)

    I dare any present to read the next sentence and then point fingers again.

    FTR, I also referred to detractors’ rebuttals as “religious idiots’ specious sophistry”. So, can somebody explain what is supposed to be the problem here? Perhaps my sesquipedalian turn of phrase is too much for a few of the noncognoscenti present.

    My respect for PZM knows no bounds. My respect for some of his hangers-on… less so.

    It bothers me not at all that noone ever bothered to comment on Vatican’s special conference to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

    Rome had declined to invite ID speakers because they felt the theory lacked scientific merit.

    Creationists and ID morons were quite upset – http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,505385,00.html

    And before pointing fingers – please remember that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Edward M. De Robertis to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

    Here is his inaugural address: EVO-DEVO: THE MERGING OF EVOLUTIONARY AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
    http://www.hhmi.ucla.edu/derobertis/EDR_MS/Evo-Devo_page/EVO-DEVO.html

    Which brings me back to the last sentence of my original post:

    “…I have no intention of lingering to witness the predictable hate-filled diatribes by morons who cannot understand we are actually all on the same side on the important issues of opposing superstition and promoting evolution in the mainstream thought.”

    QED!

    So thank you for referring me to the parallel site… oh and FTR – I do not speak Spanish that is correct – I am however fluent in three other languages besides English (which does not happen to be my mother-tongue).

    The subject of my Muttersprache reminded me… so I searched an English version of a news report in one of Canada’s national newspapers which may amuse you as much as it did me.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/?attachment_id=78430

    … let’s just call that a parting gift.

    My apologies for cross-posting.

    So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night, I hate to go and leave this pretty sight…

  158. 158
    Jadehawk

    I never accused PZM of inciting hate – My exact quote:

    I still think he goes too far and some posts here remind me of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion writ Christian.

    yeah, not accusations of incitement at all. and no, saying you “understand” doesn’t actually negate the meaning of that sentence, any more than saying “i’m not a racist, but” negates any racism that is likely to follow. silly person.

    It bothers me not at all that noone ever bothered to comment on Vatican’s special conference to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

    what’s there to comment on? It’s well-known that the RCC uses theistic evolution instead of creationism. What do you imagine your point is?

    I am however fluent in three other languages besides English (which does not happen to be my mother-tongue).

    and so?

  159. 159
    Sastra

    madscientist #61 wrote:

    Accommodationism only encourages the godbotherers to believe that other people respect and accept their ridiculous assertions as true.

    I think accomodationism encourages the religious to believe that atheists and other nonbelievers accept their ridiculous assertions not necessarily as true, but as noble. As deepfelt beliefs won through struggle and character, indicative of the value of virtue, the nature of love, and the identity of the believer.

    Screw that. They’re hypotheses — and badly supported ones.

    Seems to me that’s where the real battle takes place: on the issue of faith, and on having faith in faith. Fundamentalist “extremism” is simply the natural fall-out of a very bad system. Method, method, method.

    lucquardo #104 wrote:

    I love a good spleen-vent as much as the next grumpy atheist, and PZs had its moments of adolescent satisfaction, but don’t kid yourself that this is the way to win the propaganda war… BUT don’t forget that the real front of this battle is not with the (admittedly numerous) nutters but with the vast majority of well-meaning religious people who are fertile ground for a Sagan brand of skepticism.

    Don’t forget that the “Sagan brand of skepticism” will not find a fertile ground if the atmosphere of privilege which surrounds spirituality/religion places a protective force-field haze around it to prevent analysis from getting in. The ‘propaganda war’ can only take place on an even ground.

    And don’t discount the “nutters.” That passion for truth can sometimes be turned around very effectively.

    henryashely-cooper #143 wrote:

    “We fight the idea that skepticism might be impolite by being impolite all the time, making the questioning of dogma commonplace and frequent. ”
    I think it should read as follows:
    “We fight the idea that scepticism might be impolite by being sceptical all the time, making the questioning of dogma commonplace and frequent.”

    I agree, much better. It’s just as accurate, but less open to misinterpretation. I chalked the original up to lack of sleep.

    PZ is not impolite all the time (depending, of course, on what you mean by “impolite.”) He’s always honest, but sometimes he stops swearing his usual blue streak.

  160. 160
    Sastra

    majorpriapus #157 wrote:

    It bothers me not at all that noone ever bothered to comment on Vatican’s special conference to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

    No one? I think the general consensus is that the Catholics are trying to make a religious virtue out of scientific necessity and co-opt a veneer of science in order to make the existence of God, the immortality of souls, the divinity of Jesus, and the Virgin Birth seem respectably “compatible” with a scientific approach and outlook. I don’t think we were impressed. I’m not.

    Sort of like a homeopath not being anti-vaxx and publicly grandstanding then about how science-friendly they are. Uh huh.

  161. 161
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Majorpimpledass, here was your opening line.

    I can understand PZ Meyers sense outraged exasperation and anger. I still think he goes too far and some posts here remind me of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion writ Christian.

    You fucking open with a godwin and you complain that people get on your case.

    And, as I said before, BFD that the Vatican made creationist upset. The fucking RCC is not an ally of scientific thought.

    Good-bye, idiot. And you are not a long time fan. If you were, you would know that PZ will not change his blog to fit your taste. And that no one here is going to be charitable to the RCC. The bridge was burned centuries ago.

    But I will leave you with a task. Convince a RCC run church to offer abortions.

  162. 162
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Hey, Majorpriapus, I’m guessing your ‘nym is an attempt to explain the lack of bloodflow to your brain?

    Just for completeness’ sake, we are talking about the same wonderful Catholic Church that told the French in the Maritimes to suck it up because blah blah martyrs, raped countless little kids of their own congregation and raped some Jesus into the First Nations kids they could get their hands on too? Those ones? (Hint: don’t try those bullshit lies in places where you don’t know that there are plenty of real people who know better.)

    Also, how the FUCK dare you pretend that criticism of these revolting institutes of abuse and delusion (which can be backed up with actual data) is anything like anti-Semitic propaganda? Seriously, fuck right off with that. And fucking likening criticism of an institution to a lynching? Jesus fucking christ on a pogo stick, get some fucking perspective.

    And lastly, cut the bullshit lies that Canada isn’t infested with creationist fundies trying to infect schools. I GREW UP IN THAT SHIT, I CALL BS.

  163. 163
    David Marjanović

    No silence. *clenched-tentacle salute*

    And I cannot resist pointing out that the concept of wrath as a deadly sin is balanced by the concept of holy wrath. :-] I like holy wrath. :-]

    If you aren’t angry, there’s something wrong with you.

    “If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention”?

    I don’t think I’m smarter than everyone else.

    I just think I’m right.

    How stupid of me not to have thought of this [wording] myself!

    When someone feels a debate to be competitive instead of an open arena of discourse – when they feel that conceding they were wrong hurts their dignity –

    That is what must be changed. In reality, to feel that conceding they were wrong hurts their dignity makes them the most reprehensible kind of cowards, the one who would rather let people die than admit to not being fucking infallible. Why do they take themselves so important?

    The absurd, deeply ridiculous attitude that “I must be seen as infallible at all times” is as catastrophically destructive as “I must be seen as utterly fearless at all times – death of myself and others before dishonor”. It needs to get out of people’s heads, out, out, out.

    By no means is this restricted to discussions of atheism. It’s a general feature of several cultures. Écrasons déjà l’infâme !!!

    *heavy panting*

    I mentioned holy wrath. I just got some.

    Would you try to leave the country?

    Do, or do not. There is no try. ;-)

    You see no difference between debate and discourse?

    Debate is whatcha put on de hook to catch de fish.

    Seriously, does anyone bitch about how mean we are for disabusing White [Supremacists] of the warm fuzzies of their ego trip by reminding them they’re no better than anyone else?

    Not anymore, but fifty years ago it was a different story.

    Qapla’!

    In context I disagree. I think it has to do with having a reason for living rather than just going through the motions.

    I’d have phrased it as “aren’t you interested in something?” rather than “but believe”.

    (Whyever do you imagine any living thing needs a reason for living?)

    I get the impression that suicide is the default for Ing. ~:-| However, it does appear to be true that some people go through all their adult, working and retired, life without wanting to do anything in particular. That strikes me as incredibly sad.

    In support of razzlefrog and jasonloxton, would you have found their points more compelling if phrased along the lines of:

    “well done completely missing Sagan’s point, you illiterate nimrod. Interpreting his observation (that silence promotes an atmosphere where replying is impolite) as being a call to be impolite makes you either stupid or evil”

    Or is it more persuasive without the ad hominems?

    As has been pointed out, there’s not a single argumentum ad hominem in your version. The insults that are there do not change anything about how persuasive it is.

    the science linking animal protein to cancer and heart disease

    *blink*

    What? How could that ever work?

    Gout is one thing, but cancer? What carcinogens are there in animal protein that are not in plant protein??? Isn’t it all the same 20 amino acids? Is collagen carcinogenic? If so, how the fuck?

    Details, please.

    Except that “mysticism” is not a synonym for “woo”, nor for “dogma”, nor for “revelation”: mysticism is subjective science.

    Subjective, or science?

    If nobody else can test your conclusions, it’s not science.

    Nobody cares much about your opinions on (objective) science unless you’ve spent a good many years getting a scientific education.

    Bullshit. Such an education obviously helps you avoid beginner’s errors, but it’s by no means necessary. I have published six papers so far; for none was I asked how much education I had – the manuscript was simply evaluated on its own merits.

    Indeed, in one case, there was double-blind peer review – not only were my coauthor and I not told who was evaluating the manuscript, we had to remove our names from the manuscript before submitting it to the journal and put them in a separate file that wasn’t sent to the reviewers.

    …Oh.

    Sorry!

    I don’t think of science in terms of “opinions” at all, so I simply thought you were talking about conclusions. Well… in science, nobody cares about opinions at all, unless they’re testable speculations/hypotheses/theories, no matter how many Nobel Prizes you’ve won.

    It is in that final department that he claims religion holds forth and that science, skepticism and secularism have failed. They do not cause us to take action to reach beyond our current selves.

    ~:-|

    I don’t understand this. I lack the kind of self-hate that would make me want to “reach beyond my current self”. Why should it be necessary to do that???

    In my mind, stopping child rape is what matters, more than what the people stopping it believe in. So, you know, it would be a really good idea to stop the child rape thing FIRST, and then hopefully get people out of a religious mindset after. I’d rather shame Christians into stopping the hurtful rot in their own religion so that children stop getting raped.

    QFT.

    Oh and on the topic of religion as superstition: Pope Benedict XVI recently appointed Edward M. De Robertis to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

    Here is his inaugural address: EVO-DEVO: THE MERGING OF EVOLUTIONARY AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
    http://www.hhmi.ucla.edu/derobertis/EDR_MS/Evo-Devo_page/EVO-DEVO.html

    This all just for the record.

    This has nothing to do with religion. I don’t see your point.

    Eh, sure, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences was founded because some pope believed science could help prove God or something. (Think Biblical archeology.) Now they’re stuck with it – to close the Academy would amount to admitting very publicly that science is pointing in the other direction.

    Allow me a melodramatic turn of phrase: Will PZ Meyers [sic] go down in history as having promoted Evolution [sic] as public orthodoxy (akin to the efforts of Stephen Jay Gould)

    …what?

    Public orthodoxy??? WTF do you mean?

    or will Myers be noted in some historical footnote as actually having turned out to be an impediment to the cause?

    Which cause(s) exactly?

    Citation? What about orphanages and hospitals are inherent to religious faith or Christianity specifically? Oh, and I see you pretend that we were so harsh to you while ignoring the fact that you accused PZ of writing something equivalent to antisemitic falsehoods and performing a “cyber-lynching”. Your hypocritical concern is noted.

    Hey, it does say in his name that he’s a big dick. Priapus was a fertility god. Perhaps look up the priapulid worms that are named after him.

    what is it with accommodationists and the complete inability to use the term “ad hominem” correctly?

    It’s not just accommodationists. Creationists, wooists of all kinds, philosophy freaks, practically everyone who uses the term seems to believe it’s Fancy for “insult”.

    @ anteprepro & janine

    Thank you! Thank you!!!

    I was unaware of the parallel site! I am in your debt.

    FTR – some posters here should brush up on some remedial reading skills before pretending to cite me.

    What a funny juxtaposition. All science posts on this site have “(Also on Sb)” at their ends, with a link to the ScienceBlogs Pharyngula thread. You’ve been overlooking this for how long now?

    It bothers me not at all that noone ever bothered to comment on Vatican’s special conference to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

    Rome had declined to invite ID speakers because they felt the theory lacked scientific merit.

    And we had much giggling at the expense of the IDiots. That was two years ago.

    The subject of my Muttersprache reminded me… so I searched an English version of a news report in one of Canada’s national newspapers which may amuse you as much as it did me.

    We had much fun with this one, too, when it was new.

    And Wiedersehen has a capital letter.

    I think accomodationism encourages the religious to believe that atheists and other nonbelievers accept their ridiculous assertions not necessarily as true, but as noble. As deepfelt beliefs won through struggle and character, indicative of the value of virtue, the nature of love, and the identity of the believer.

    Exactly.

    Sort of like a homeopath not being anti-vaxx and publicly grandstanding then about how science-friendly they are. Uh huh.

    QFT. :-)

  164. 164
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Oh, lookie here majorpimpledass. Here is a Chicago Cardinal comparing a Gay Pride Parade to the KKK. The same fucking tactic you used. And, oh yes, yet an other reason why I want nothing to do with the RCC. I have hundreds more.

    This Sunday, Truth Wins Out will run an ad calling for Cardinal Francis George to resign. Nice but not far enough. I want that office to remain unfilled. And while we are at it, retrieve Bernard Law from the Vatican and have him face punishment. And let Ratzo be an accessory to his crime.

  165. 165
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    David Marjanović, I was telling majorpimpledass to go to BioLogos. That PZ was not going to change his blog to fit majorpimpledass’ diktat.

  166. 166
    Ing

    I get the impression that suicide is the default for Ing

    WTF?

  167. 167
    tend60

    Very good article, PZ. One important blemish, though, is where you say:

    “but someone who is proud of their beliefs”

    We need to avoid at all costs people regarding atheism as a belief system. It’s not. I completely lack belief, and instead always look for the evidence.

    We cannot give the religious any excuse to push their agenda of calling atheism a belief system, which then leads them to say that atheism is a religion. We should take care with the use of the word “belief”.

  168. 168
    Crow

    @tend60 #167

    The argument that atheism is the belief that there is not a god and therefore constitutes a religion is pure and utter crap, logically speaking. Anyone who makes that kind of argument isn’t going to be convinced by selecting words slightly different.

    I understand your point, but the solution isn’t to avoid phrasing things so that idiots won’t be confused, the solution is to tell them they’re a fucking idiot and to take an intro philosophy/logic course so they can come up with a valid argument.

  169. 169
    John Morales

    tend60:

    We need to avoid at all costs people regarding atheism as a belief system. It’s not.

    Well, sure — atheism is a conclusion; the belief that there is no reason to believe in gods.

    I completely lack belief, and instead always look for the evidence.

    Seems to me you believe you need (credible) evidence for belief in a proposition. When you do find such evidence, do you go on lacking belief in said proposition? :)

    We cannot give the religious any excuse to push their agenda of calling atheism a belief system, which then leads them to say that atheism is a religion.

    You’ve just articulated a belief.

    We should take care with the use of the word “belief”.

    Belief: cognitive content held as true.

  170. 170
    mothra

    One more great firefly Serenity quote:

    Kalee (sp): Shepard Book says Revers are just people at the edge of space, saw the vasting nothingness and went all bibledy.

  171. 171
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    majorpriapus – I had to look back to check that wasn’t somebody’s snarky nym twisting. Self-labelling as a major dick! No argument from me.

    So, is it just me, or does everyone else who hears praise for Catholic orphanages now translate that mentally into “forced labour camp”. Surely Ireland has not been forgotten so soon.

    And on a sideline, the “China Study” is not such a great source. Some quick starter readings:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/385/
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-china-study-revisited/

    The second link refers on to some very hefty reanalysis by a person who seems a tad on the food-crank side herself, but who is also a numbers geek and not hugely dogmatic.

  172. 172
    Ing

    No seriously. What the fuck?

  173. 173
    saguhh00

    Fuck yeah, we gotta misbehave. And correct the Babble like River Tam did. Although far from being completely correct, “In the beginning God said BANG and the Big Bang happened” is a lot better than the Genesis bullcrap.

    Also, the RCC supports science NOW because they need it. They had a diferent opinion when Giordano Bruno and Galileo were alive. Science was only able to flourish fully after the RCC lost most of the power it once had.

  174. 174
    Jadehawk

    No seriously. What the fuck?

    he means that your “standard happiness level” is so low as to fit into the “suicidal” range; thus the need for tricks and other helpers to lift it to a less dangerous level.

    but yeah, that was expressed rather… abrubtly

  175. 175
    Ing

    he means that your “standard happiness level” is so low as to fit into the “suicidal” range; thus the need for tricks and other helpers to lift it to a less dangerous level.

    Um…Excuse me?

  176. 176
    Ing

    I mean if you’re all passing judgement on my life since you know so much about it.

  177. 177
    Jadehawk

    Um…Excuse me?

    excuse you what? I imagine it’s the impression he got from posts such as the one you made at #155

  178. 178
    Jadehawk

    “passing judgement”?

    I’m confused. what is it about his comment or my explanation thereof that was “judgmental”?

  179. 179
    Ing

    This was an unusually rough year, for which having goals and social value beyond my immediate self was invaluable. It’s hardly the same from needing “tricks” to get through life like I’m a horrible miser who is self medicating.

  180. 180
    Ing

    the need for tricks and other helpers to lift it to a less dangerous level.

    You’ll excuse me if I don’t take my family being regarded to in such a manner as a might bit kinda little really fucking insulting?

  181. 181
    Jadehawk

    It’s hardly the same from needing “tricks” to get through life like I’m a horrible miser who is self medicating.

    in other words it’s you who is judgmental and is projecting that judgment on other people’s comments (meaning, your dismissive attitude to people who’ve found ways to deal with their depression themselves has been duly noted)

    Signed,

    a horrible miser, apparently

  182. 182
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    @John Morales # 169

    If there is evidence of something then there is and belief is not necessary. Depending on which definition of belief you are using

  183. 183
    Jadehawk

    You’ll excuse me if I don’t take my family being regarded to in such a manner as a might bit kinda little really fucking insulting?

    i didn’t “regard to” your family in any particular way, and neither did David M. but be pissed, if that makes you happy.

  184. 184
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Ariaflame @182, I provided my definition of belief — a perfectly reasonable one, I think, and in accord with everyday and philosophical usage.

    Problem is, many people use the unadorned term as shorthand for ‘unjustified|unevidenced|dogmatic belief’. :|

  185. 185
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Ing, perhaps some of us do need reasons to go on living, and some don’t. People are different.

    (It would be as inappropriate for me to tell you that you don’t as it would be for you to tell me I do)

  186. 186
    Ing

    @Jadehawk

    thus the need for tricks and other helpers to lift it to a less dangerous level.

    Seemed pretty insulting and demeaning to me.

  187. 187
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Of all the living things on this planet, what proportion of them do you think need a reason for living? :)

    Roughly, the proportion that is human.

  188. 188
    Jadehawk

    that’s your rather subjective and, as already noted, judgmental impression. I find it an accurate description of what many people do.

    but as I said, if you wish to stay pissed and insulted, you’re fucking welcome to it. not like i can stop you from thinking that being chronically depressed and having found coping mechanisms for that is somehow horrible. as for me, this ridiculous conversation is over; serves me right for trying to be helpful and explain a misunderstanding.

  189. 189
    Ing

    that’s your rather subjective and, as already noted, judgmental impression. I find it an accurate description of what many people do.

    but as I said, if you wish to stay pissed and insulted, you’re fucking welcome to it. not like i can stop you from thinking that being chronically depressed and having found coping mechanisms for that is somehow horrible. as for me, this ridiculous conversation is over; serves me right for trying to be helpful and explain a misunderstanding.

    I’m not being judgmental. Fine sorry.

  190. 190
    David Marjanović
    I get the impression that suicide is the default for Ing

    WTF?

    Pretty much what Jadehawk said, except I didn’t think about “tricks and other helpers”. Here’s SC sharing your attitude, as far as I can tell:

    Of all the living things on this planet, what proportion of them do you think need a reason for living? :)

    Roughly, the proportion that is human.

    I simply don’t understand that. I live by default. I’d need to set an action to off myself; I’d need a reason to do something – sitting here and doing nothing happens on its own, “reason” doesn’t apply to it.

    Indeed, right now, tearing myself off the computer and going to sleep, now at 3:21 3:34 am, would be an action, so I can’t bring myself to do it, even though I’m tired enough that I should have gone to bed several hours ago. (Don’t worry, I’ve almost finished the threads I wanted to read, so I’ll go to bed soon…)

    It may well be that this is just my lack of imagination talking. After all, I’ve never been clinically depressed myself. Constant background sadness for months or years, yes, but never to anywhere near an extent that I couldn’t work anymore. Nor have I seen depression firsthand in anyone else in any detail. Sometimes I’m surprised I don’t get depressed… but I digress.

    I don’t understand either why you think I must have been judgmental. The attitude that stuff which happens to you is divine/karmic punishment for your sins seems to be fairly widespread in the Bible and the USA, but it’s not common over here, and I’ve never shared it. Please be assured you have all my sympathy, even though I haven’t been on TET much lately and don’t know what has happened to your family.

  191. 191
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I simply don’t understand that. I live by default.

    No, you exist by default (because you’re lucky enough to have food, shelter, clean air/water, and health care). You live because you have a family you love, research about which you’re passionate, friends you care about, online discussions that bring you joy and genuine stimulation, a commitment to reason and discovery, and hope for the future.

    If you did not have these things, you might find some other reason to live, good or bad.

  192. 192
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    (because you’re lucky enough to have food, shelter, clean air/water, and health care

    …and a government that’s not inclined at the moment to kill you)

  193. 193
    John Morales

    [meta]

    SC,

    Of all the living things on this planet, what proportion of them do you think need a reason for living? :)

    Roughly, the proportion that is human.

    Indeed.

    (Apparently, we’re not backward compatible)

    No, you exist by default (because you’re lucky enough to have food, shelter, clean air/water, and health care). You live because you have a family you love, research about which you’re passionate, friends you care about, online discussions that bring you joy and genuine stimulation, a commitment to reason and discovery, and hope for the future.

    I live because I’m not dead, and because I have a access to good-enough air, food, drink and rest — that is, the necessities of life.

    (Love, passion, friends and whatnot are nice, but aren’t necessities, as you noted)

  194. 194
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    (Apparently, we’re not backward compatible)

    :)

    I live because I’m not dead, and because I have a access to good-enough air, food, drink and rest — that is, the necessities of life.

    You exist.

    (Love, passion, friends and whatnot are nice, but aren’t necessities, as you noted)

    I noted no such thing. People die from the lack of the necessities of existence. People kill themselves, passively or actively, or search desperately for substitutes, for the lack of the necessities of life.

  195. 195
    John Morales

    [OT]

    SC,

    People kill themselves, passively or actively, or search desperately for substitutes, for the lack of the necessities of life.

    Well, I take your point. It sure seems so to me, when referring to other people.

    I’m certainly privileged, and have never been in a position where I’ve felt (or am likely to feel) the lack of those intangibles; very possibly, I’m just fooling myself, though best as I can tell, that’s quite honestly how I feel.

    (May everyone be at least as lucky as I am now!)

  196. 196
    gravityisjustatheory

    Abbot nigelTheBold of the Hoppist Monks says:
    28 December 2011 at 7:34 pm

    falstaff:

    But would you actually fight?

    I realized at that time I was willing to kill. This is a strange realization for a pacifist.

    I can fight. I can kill. It takes a lot; it takes a direct threat to the lives of those I love. But I can do it.

    I don’t expect this fight to be violent, but I think, knowing my limits, I can do what’s needed to succeed.

    I think many here are also willing to do what’s necessary, to varying degrees.

    Mal: Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill ‘em right back! … You got the right same as anyone to live and try to kill people.

  197. 197
    carolw

    Clenched tentacle salute!

  198. 198
    stevenhansmann

    Don’t forget Mal talking with shepherd Book about faith and god, “That’s a long wait for a train not coming”. Firefly is probably the best science fiction series to ever come along as it’s believable; humanity at its worst and best, warts and all, shiny.

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